Introduction: Writing Women’s Rights – from Enlightenment to Ecofeminism

Rachel Carroll, Fiona Tolan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Historically excluded from formal education, the professions and politics, women have found meaning, purpose and agency on the page. The written word has played a catalysing role in women’s struggle for equality, both past and present: whether as a vehicle for personal expression, private exchange or public communication, the practice of writing – at once reflective, creative and productive – has enabled women to create liberating spaces in which to critique and challenge the realities of their experience. The circulation of women’s words has further served to validate experience, foster shared identity and fuel collective intent, empowering women to overcome both barriers to authorship and resistance to the troubling truths their words disclose. The forging of feminist communities of the word is an impulse which also finds expression in this collection. Bringing together specially commissioned essays by leading feminist scholars, The Routledge Companion to Literature and Feminism offers new insights into the crucial role played by women’s literary production in the evolving history of women’s rights discourses, feminist activism and movements for gender equality. The transformative power of women’s words is explored in literary forms ranging from novels, plays and poetry to letters, journals and travel writing, and from journalism, essays and manifestos to biography, autobiography and memoir. Foregrounding the material and cultural conditions which have shaped histories of women’s literary activity, new light is cast on women’s role as editors, publishers and cultural activists in championing women’s voices.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Companion to Literature and Feminism
EditorsRachel Carroll, Fiona Tolan
ISBN (Print)9780367410261
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2023


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