Feminist Writings from Ancient Times to the Modern World

A Global Sourcebook and History

by Tiffany K. Wayne, Editor


The history of feminism goes much further back than most people imagine. The common images of feminism—protests involving public bra burning or rallies for reproductive rights, for example—only represent very recent Western incarnations of women's rights and a school of thought that extends back through four millennia of human history.

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Cover image for Feminist Writings from Ancient Times to the Modern World

October 2011


Pages 718
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics World History/Gender

Collecting more than 200 sources in the global history of feminism, this anthology supplies an insightful record of the resistance to patriarchy throughout human history and around the world.

From writings by Enheduana in ancient Mesopotamia (2350 BCE) to the present-day manifesto of the Association of Women for Action and Research in Singapore, Feminist Writings from Ancient Times to the Modern World: A Global Sourcebook and History excerpts more than 200 feminist primary source documents from Africa to the Americas to Australia.

Serving to depict "feminism" as much broader—and older—than simply the modern struggle for political rights and equality, this two-volume work provides a more comprehensive and varied record of women's resistance cross-culturally and throughout history. The author's goal is to showcase a wide range of writers, thinkers, and organizations in order to document how resistance to patriarchy has been at the center of social, political, and intellectual history since the infancy of human civilization. This work addresses feminist ideas expressed privately through poetry, letters, and autobiographies, as well as the public and political aspects of women's rights movements.


  • More than 200 chronologically arranged entries on feminist writers, thinkers, and organizations across 4,000 years of human history
  • Contributions from more than 100 international scholars, including historians, sociologists, literary, cultural theorists, religious scholars, writers, and activists
  • Brief bibliographies of further readings, websites, and other relevant resources with each entry
  • Lists of entries arranged by region as well as by broad topic, in addition to a comprehensive index


  • Collects more sources and greater chronological and regional coverage than previous anthologies of feminist history, ranging from antiquity to as recent as 2009
  • Includes many documents translated and published in English for the first time
  • Provides a broad coverage of diverse topics, including religion, education, marriage, motherhood, reproduction, employment, international organizations, and political rights
Author Info

Tiffany K. Wayne, PhD, is an independent scholar. Her published works include Woman Thinking: Feminism and Transcendentalism in 19th-Century America; Women's Roles in 19th-Century America; and American Women of Science since 1900.



"These two fascinating and informative volumes overseen by Wayne, an independent scholar and editor of several books on women and feminism, provide a sweeping selection of worldwide feminist works written chiefly by women from 2350 BCE to 2009. . . . Rather than simply identifying leading worldwide feminist figures and trends, the 200-plus, chronologically ordered entries on individual writers' works, by more than 100 contributors, create a more subjective impression of the flow of ideas across time and space. . . . Highly recommended."Choice

"The analysis of each excerpt is concise, clear, and easily understood by high-school and college students. For writers who are not well known, the discussion of their impact during their lifetime and later will help students understand their place in the history of feminist thought. Feminist Writings from Ancient Times to the Modern World is an excellent reference work because of the wide range of authors included and the analysis of their works and impact."Booklist, Starred Review

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Encyclopedia of Women in the Ancient World cover imageEncyclopedia of Women's Travel and Exploration cover imageNotable Twentieth-Century Latin American Women cover image

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