Paper Example with "Public Women Public Words" and "Giving Women the Business" Analysis

Published: 2022-12-08
Paper Example with "Public Women Public Words" and "Giving Women the Business" Analysis
Type of paper:  Article review
Categories:  Women Feminism America American history
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1411 words
12 min read

Source A: Public Women Public Words

Public Women Public word is a three-volume documentary written by an English assistant professor, Dawn Keetley of Lehigh University and historian associate professor, John Pettigrew. Volume two was written between 1900 and1960 while the third volume was written between 1860 to present. Each volume focuses on Different periods and discusses how women of those periods fought to liberate themselves from oppression and how they organized their respective groups.

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The final document of public women public words pays attention to what is popularly known as the second wave of American feminism. Its focus is on the mild feminism of 1960 led by Betty Friedan to today's extreme feminism which concentrates on topics such as lesbianism, abortion, black women's right and equal rights. The main focus of this volume is on the issues affecting women during the late 60s and how the women tried to solve them. It also discusses different cultural perspective on feminism and the role of the media in shaping the feminist ideology.

Through their documentation, the authors present the idea that the first wave movement was more than the women's right (Keetley, 2005). Their documents clearly show that the wave was about peacekeeping, education, sex gender, politics, their right to control birth control among others. The material allows the reader to get a deeper insight of what is feminism, what it stood for, and how to educate other people on the topic. It is evident that feminism at that time was created to help people understand the contemporary issues of that time. The fight for equality by the middle-class men was a perfect gate for women to attain political social and economic change. About voting, the main question was not about having the right to vote but how to use the vote in liberating themselves from the many struggles (Keetley, 2005). The black women raised the issue of the 19th amendment of 1922 as they tried to understand its meaning.

Source B: Giving Women the Business

Giving women the Business is an article that was written by Barbra et al. in 1997. The item came to be when the president and the chief executive officer of Pepsi cola north America Brenda Barnes resigned on the ground that she wanted to spend more time with her family and children. Her resignation went viral, and she became an example of the sufferings, pressure, and demands that are exacted on women to succeed by the corporate world. Though she argued that her decision was personal and should not be used to generalize women, many articles were written basing its arguments on her decision including Wall Street Journal where one female said that Barnes was too honest and the corporate world is not for such people. Harper's magazine decided to open a panel discussion of women who could frankly talk about the struggles that women go through in the corporate world with Barbra jones as the moderator. A

In the debate, Barbra Jones presents the problems faced by women in the corporate world. She discusses the discrimination in payment whereby women were paid less than mane though they had the same role. She presents how women would complain about a salary increase, and all they get is a small increase which does not add up to that of men (Blair et al., 2005). Women in the corporate world were required to dress in a certain way while no one bothered how men dressed the managers would complain that women were spent too much tie in the bathroom. All these petty issues were geared to ensure that women have no peace in the workplace and therefore they should quit their jobs. The topic of family time also came up where many organizations did not have favorable terms of service where women can get married and have children. The corporate world is for white men and not a place for human being to survive.

According to one of the panelists Arlie Russell, women face difficult situations. She says that women don't have "wife" at home who will help them with household chores (Blair et al., 2005). It means that women have more work than men. Apart from the usual roles, they have three extra part which includes social role, reproduction role and production role which men don't have. This makes it difficult for women to participate fully in the corporate world. To some of the panelists, the solution of the women lies within themselves. They thought that a woman at the higher ranks has a responsibility to make things better from those working in the sore. Others felt that the top management had a role in making changes.

Relating the Two Primary Sources

The two primary sources on the issue of women movement and liberation serve as evidence of how different people from different place had the same idea on the challenges facing women. The documentary, public women public words argue that the many women movement at that was not all about voting rights, but involve deeper issues like the place of women in development and their role in the community(Keetley, 2005). In the Barbra jones discussion panel, very few women talked about the issue of voting. The magazine talks of broader issues like discrimination in the workplace, lack of freedom and the suppression of women's rights.

Both document the patriarchal society where the men dominated everything including controlling women's sexuality. The two articles have the same historical context in that they were written almost at the same time. Therefore, the issues discussed in both articles relate to each other. During this period the dress code for women changed which brought much complain and displeasure to men. In the magazine, we see one of the panelist discussing how the manager wants women to dress in a feminine way by discouraging their clothing. During the movements formed during that time, the issue of dressing also came in where women wanted to be allowed to dress the way they desired.

The two documents present women fighting for the right to control what happens in their bodies. One of the protests of that time was that women had the right to abort, to decide the number of children to have, and to decide who to relate with sexually. It came about as women were seen as children producers. The men in the society used their sexuality to dominate women in that they decided the number of children one should have. In the magazine, one of the panelists is annoyed by the fact that a woman who chose to do surrogacy because she did not have time to give birth was looked down upon by the men (Blair et al., 2005). The issue of abortion was critical because women argued that the fetus is in their body and they should decide what happens to their bodies. They saw it as oppressive when a raped women had no right to abort.

Finally, the two articles were written in during periods where the role of women was being a mother and being in the kitchen. The Women in Development Movement formed during this time was to involve women in the development projects (Keetley, 2005). This was as a result of the observation that women were the one working in the farms, but they did not benefit from their labor as the produce belonged to the men. Also, the role of being a wife was hard in that even though they were working they had to come back home and do the household chores. One panelist said that women do not have "wives" at home who could go and help them with any responsibility. The work of the men ended at office work while those of women extended back home.


In conclusion, many articles and books have been written to discuss the issues that revolved around the making of modern America. As historians, we need to dig deep into these wrings for us to get the right perspective of things affecting us today. Without history, there is no future. The primary source of information gives the historian to understand the motive behind the writing and the objective of the writer. By doing this, the historian will avoid misquoting and misinterpreting the writer.


Blair, A., Ehrenreich, B., Lewis, J., Russell Hochschild, A., & Perle McKenna, E. (1997). Giving Women the Business: On winning, losing, and leaving the corporate game. HARPERS, 295, 47-58.

Keetley, D. (2005). Public women, public words: A documentary history of American feminism (Vol. 2). Rowman & Littlefield.

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