U.S. Women in Beijing: The Fourth World Conference on Women and the Global Politics of American Feminism

by Lisa Levenstein

Jan 1, 2013
My project explores the national and international dimensions of the late twentieth-century U.S. women's movement by examining American women's participation in the Beijing Women's Conference of 1995. This conference was the largest international gathering of women in world history. During twelve days in September, over 17,000 people from one hundred eighty-nine countries and territories gathered in Beijing and over 30,000 activists attended the accompanying Non-governmental Organization (NGO) Forum in Huairou. While many participants have written about their experiences, my book will offer the first historical study of U.S. participation in the conference based on archival research and oral history interviews. My research suggests that Beijing strengthened alliances, but also exacerbated fissures within the global women's movement and challenged notions of U.S. leadership in the promotion of women's rights and feminist politics.
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