Daughters of 1968 (University of Nebraska Press, 2019) is the story of French feminism between 1944 and 1981, when feminism played a central political role in the history of France. The key women during this epoch were often leftists committed to a materialist critique of society and were part of a postwar tradition that produced widespread social change, revamping the workplace and laws governing everything from abortion to marriage. The May 1968 events—with their embrace of radical individualism and antiauthoritarianism—triggered a break from the past, and the women’s movement split into two strands. One became individualist and intensely activist, the other particularist and less activist, distancing itself from contemporary feminism. This theoretical debate was not academic. It manifested itself in battles between women and organizations on the streets and in the courts.
Lisa Greenwald, Ph.D. spent almost a decade working in and researching the women’s movement in France. She has worked as a consultant and in-house historian for a variety of nonprofits and foundations in France, Chicago, and New York. She teaches history at Stuyvesant High School in New York City.