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Don't Call Us Girls (Hardback)

Women’s Activism, Protest and Actions in the Vietnam War

Military > Post-WWII Warfare > Vietnam Women of History World History > Asia

By Barbara Leonora Tischler
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 512
Illustrations: 56 colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781399066068
Published: 30th September 2024


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Don’t Call Us Girls examines the importance of women’s participation in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, and the international anti-war movement. This collective voice for peace, and an end to nuclear proliferation, reached back to before the Second World War and then firmly embedded itself during the war years when women assumed such important roles in the workplace that Franklin D. Roosevelt called them the ‘Arsenal of Democracy’.

When the men returned from war, women were encouraged by forces as powerful as government agencies and eminent psychiatrists to return to their ‘place’ at home. And return home they did, only to realize that they could use the skills they practiced as housewives to begin organizing themselves into groups that would start a wave of protest action that swept through the late 1950s, gathering up the Civil Rights Movement as it hurtled ever forward through the next two decades.

In the 1960s and 1970s, no institution or convention was sacred—many aspects of women’s lives were fair game for criticism, protest, and change. In this no-holds-barred era, women debated everything from international nuclear policies, pay equity and child care for women, to reproductive rights and sexual politics. They protested in the streets, outside the White House, in Trafalgar Square, at the Arc de Triomphe, on university campuses, and just about anywhere else they would be heard. They were tired of the role society had cast for them and they would not rest until they saw the substantial change that seemed promising with the emergence of Second Wave Feminism in the 1970s.

While we still live in a patriarchal society, we have these women to thank for many of the freedoms we now enjoy. If they have taught us anything, it is never to stop pushing back against the patriarchy and to rest only when we are truly equal. The final chapter of Don’t Call Us Girls reminds us that there is still a lot of work to do.

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About Barbara Leonora Tischler

Dr Barbara L Tischler is a cum laude graduate of Douglass College of Rutgers University, where she completed an honours thesis in music, followed by a Master of Music degree in Oboe from the Manhattan School of Music. She worked as a freelance musician in New York City while earning her M.A., M. Phil., and Ph.D. degrees in United States History. Tischler has taught at Columbia University, Barnard College, and Queens College of the City University of New York, among other schools. In 1986, she published An American Music: The Search for an American Musical Identity (Oxford University Press). Rutgers University Press published Sights on the Sixties in 1992, which was part of Tischler’s Perspectives on the Sixties series. She has written numerous articles and book reviews on aspects of social, cultural, women’s, and labour history. In 2015, she published Muhammad Ali: A Man of Many Voices (Routledge). For eight years, she and her husband ran the New York Giants Youth Baseball organization to provide athletic and academic opportunities for talented players. Tischler served as the Head of the Speyer Legacy School from 2015–2019. She has visited schools and participated in seminars on multiculturalism and peace studies in Guatemala, South Africa, and Colombia with Global Connections and with the New York State Association of Independent Schools on a school visit to Finland. Currently a resident of Falls Church, Virginia, Tischler teaches African-American and European history at Empire State University, and she substitute teaches in the Fairfax County Public School System.

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