The Women Who Brought You the 20th Century

The Most Revolutionary Act

dreamers of a new day

Dreamers of a New Day: Women Who Invented the Twentieth Century

By Sheila Rowbotham (2010)

Book Review

Dreamers of a New Day is about the first international feminist movement in the 1880s and the profound influence feminist organizers and writers had over 20th century life. Most of the women Rowbotham identifies by name are invisible to mainstream society – despite the critical importance of the major social reforms and institutions they fought for and won.

The period 1880-1929 was notable for the wide adoption of mass production and communication, the obliteration of rural life and the treacherous economic instability resulting in recurrent panics and recessions. These major social changes triggered a broad range of anti-authoritarian social movements, including socialism, anarchism, utopianism, populism and numerous other trade union and reform movements. As in the anti-authoritarian sixties, women naturally questioned why the new freedoms men were seeking shouldn’t apply to them, as…

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