Women: A World History tells the story of women’s contributions to world history as well as demonstrating why and how “women’s history” expands traditional thinking about the past. It was written for students but is an eye-opening introduction for anyone who wants to understand women in history. McVay first introduces earlier eras before moving to the modern (post-1500 CE) era. She explores the ways women impacted and were impacted by global processes such as the Triangle Trade, Imperialism, Industrialization. At the same time, she demonstrates how these processes were filtered through social constraints imposed by family structure, gender ideology, social hierarchy, and institutions.
The book focuses on seven world historical themes across cultures:
- The creation of the Atlantic World in the wake of Columbus’s historic voyage in 1492
- The impact of increasing state centralization in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
- The emergence of social and political movements in response to industrialization and the cross-cultural exchange it fostered in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
- The roles of Nationalism and Imperialism during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
- The emergence of highly centralized, especially totalitarian, governments in the first half of the twentieth century
- The emergence of Second-Wave Feminism in the context of decolonization, the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union, and increasing globalization
- The political and social implications of women’s intellectual and artistic achievements in the last half of the twentieth century
As a companion text for students in world history, women’s history, women’s studies courses, and introductory courses in sociology and anthropology, the book supplements core textbooks, monographs and course packs, and includes study questions and suggestions for further reading.