Synopses & Reviews
This compelling history traces contemporary feminist interest in science to the World War II and early Cold War years. During a period when anxiety about America's supply of scientific personnel ran high and when open support for women's rights generated suspicion, feminist reformers routinely invoked national security rhetoric and scientific "manpower" concerns in their efforts to advance women's education and employment. Puaca brings to light the untold story of an important but largely overlooked strand of feminist activism. This book reveals much about the history of American feminism, the politics of national security, and the complicated relationship between the two.
"A superbly researched and gracefully presented study of how activist women in the sciences, in conjunction with sympathetic allies in a few mainstream feminist-oriented women's organizations, utilized the language and cause of national defense and full manpower utilization to promote 'scientific womanpower' from World II through the Cold War. Puaca demonstrates how in an era and in professions hostile to gender inclusivity, women such as Virginia Gildersleeve and later Mary Ingram Bunting energetically worked to expand the token number of women in math, science, and engineering ... Her narrative has special resonance in our current era of slashed research budgets when gains of earlier activists can no longer be taken for granted."--Jane Sherron DeHart, University of California, Santa Barbara
"By covering such a wide chronological scope--1940 to 1980--Puaca traces technocratic feminism into eras such as the 1970s where other historians have found its impact to be less obvious. Doing so allows her to make important contributions to both the history of feminism and the history of scientific development."--Linda Eisenmann, Wheaton College
About the Author
Laura Micheletti Puaca is assistant professor of history at Christopher Newport University.