This essential book, meticulously researched and elegantly written, captures a key historical moment in the development of transnational feminism. Olcott (Duke) recounts the politics that led to the creation of the 1975 “International Women’s Year” in a way that reclaims the significance of the now-vanished “Second World” of the Cold War era. This “Eastern bloc” claimed for itself a special role in advocating more than merely civic and political rights, while “Western” voices found the association with socialism threatening, mobilized actors from the developing world, and managed the first conference in Mexico City in a structure designed to encourage contacts and debates that crossed not only national but class borders. Undoing the dominant narrative of this UN event as a “failure,” Olcott shows the continuation of such conferences up to Beijing to be a crucial success constructed in and through this first event. By following the money and exploring contestation as well as celebration, the study illuminates the complexity of NGO-ization for feminist movements. Necessary for every serious research library, but great reading for any student of transnational history, feminism, or non-governmental organizations.
Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above. Reviewer: M. M. Ferree, University of Wisconsin-Madison Subject: Social & Behavioral Sciences – History, Geography & Area Studies, Women’s & Gender Studies Choice Issue:Jan 2018