When waves collide: Cycles of protest and the Swiss and American women's movements

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This article makes two related arguments. First, a rising cycle of protest may influence existing movements by altering their tactics, providing new allies, and altering others' perceptions of the movements. I illustrate these effects with examples drawn from the Swiss women's movement. The Swiss women's movement is unique because the first wave was still pursuing the enfranchisement of women when the second wave mobilized in the 1960s. Second, I argue that a cycle of protest perspective provides new insights into the events surrounding the decline of the American first-wave movement. The study compares Swiss and American first-wave struggles to achieve an Equal Rights Amendment and increase women's representation in elected office. While the Swiss first wave was aided in these endeavors by the rise of the second wave, the U.S. women's movement after 1920 faced additional problems arising from its ties to the Progressive movement. These ties exacerbated splits within the movement and engendered a backlash against the women's movement by interests threatened by Progressive legislation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)837-860
Number of pages24
JournalPolitical Research Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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