Texas women broke barriers throughout the twentieth century, winning the right to vote, expanding their access to higher education, entering new professions, participating fully in civic and political life, and planning their families. Yet these major achievements have hardly been recognized in histories of twentieth-century Texas. By contrast, Texas Through Women’s Eyes offers a fascinating overview of women’s experiences and achievements in the twentieth century, with an inclusive focus on rural women, working-class women, and women of color.
McArthur and Smith trace the history of Texas women through four eras. They discuss how women entered the public sphere to work for social reforms and the right to vote during the Progressive era (1900–1920); how they continued working for reform and social justice and for greater opportunities in education and the workforce during the Great Depression and World War II (1920–1945); how African American and Mexican American women fought for labor and civil rights while Anglo women laid the foundation for two-party politics during the postwar years (1945–1965); and how second-wave feminists (1965–2000) promoted diverse and sometimes competing goals, including passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, reproductive freedom, gender equity in sports, and the rise of the New Right and the Republican party.