Preface and Acknowledgments

During the past few years, we’ve witnessed how interconnected our world is. In 2016 we saw worldwide Women’s Marches; in 2020, Black Lives Matter protests took place around the world. We also experienced a global pandemic that has touched every nation on earth. The Internet allows us immediate access into the lives and situations of people everywhere, while disinformation has exacerbated political divides and strengthened the Far Right in many places. Global capitalism has increased the wealth inequality gap, leaving more people in abject poverty while billionaires indulge in space tourism. Climate change has escalated, and its disproportionate effects on poor people of color have created climate refugees.

All these instances of global interconnection—both positive and negative—are also gendered. That means they have differing impacts on people based on gender while also creating and reinforcing the ways people experience gender. We see that experiences of gender are always shaped by nationality, race/ethnicity, sexual identity, social class, ability, age, and religion. So, when we talk about women, we aren’t talking as though all women share a single common identity or as though gender is more important or more salient than other social identities. Rather, we see women as a social category of people constructed within patriarchy (a system that divides humans into two gender categories and then values men, masculinity, and maleness over women, femininity, and femaleness) to maintain dominance of some people over others. This binary system of gender has real-world impacts on all people and has particularly devastating impacts on people who are designated as subordinate or second class within this system. This social construction of gender, its shaping of the world, and its effects on individuals and groups of people are at the core of this textbook.

Having a transnational understanding of the world, then, means learning to examine issues for commonalities and differences, taking seriously the impact of histories, cultures, languages, and geographies on gender.

Our goal is for Women Worldwide: Transnational Feminist Perspectives to help you think through the many issues that affect women—across their differences—from transnational feminist perspectives. We also hope that your feminist analysis of these issues will encourage you to imagine how you might work in the world for change to create greater inclusion, equity, and social justice.

As feminists, we are committed to collaboration in our work, and this textbook is the result of a diverse group of authors working together to create an accessible, scholarly, feminist overview of gender at work in the world. We hope this book introduces you to new information, concepts, and people, and we hope it encourages you to develop your own transnational feminist lens as a way to understand and evaluate what’s going on in our world. We challenge you to think critically and in new ways about the events that shape the lives of diverse women around the globe and to imagine how you might become involved in transformative work to create a more inclusive, equitable, and just world.

We also believe that feminist knowledge should be as accessible as possible, and so we are excited for this collaboration with Oregon State University’s Open Educational Resources (OER) to create a textbook that is available online for free.

We want to thank all of the people who put so much effort into creating this textbook. Without the deep commitment and expertise of authors, this book could never come to be. So, we thank Khatera Afghan, Kiana Anderson, Carrie Baker, Tracy Butts, Patti Duncan, Reshmi Dutt-Ballerstadt, Folah Oludayo Fletcher, Shannon Garvin, Janell Hobson, Shar Kumarakshi Kalyanam, Kamalaveni, Rebecca Lambert, Jaya Mala, Amanda Milburn, Marcela Rodrigues-Sherley, Paula Sheridan, Mehra Shirazi, and Luhui Whitebear.

We also thank the staff at OSU’s Open Educational Resources Unit, and we thank the OERU for the financial support to create this resource.

We give a special thanks to Shannon Garvin for serving as citations editor and for doing the tedious work of ensuring references followed Chicago guidelines.

We are grateful to Shaina Khan and the students in her Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies 280 course who used this textbook in its rough draft form to give us feedback to improve the book to meet student and teacher needs.

We also appreciate the significant contribution of Margaret Lowry in developing teaching and learning activities for each chapter.

Finally, we thank our colleagues and students who have helped shaped our thinking about transnational feminist issues and the ways we teach about women around the world.

Susan M. Shaw, General Editor
Professor of
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Oregon State University
Tracy Butts, Editor
Dean of College of Humanities and Fine Arts
California State University, Chico

Patti Duncan, Editor
Associate Professor of
Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Oregon State University
Janet Lockhart, Editor
Independent Scholar
Salem, Oregon


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Women Worldwide Copyright © 2022 by Tracy Butts, Patti Duncan, Janet Lockhart, and Susan Shaw is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.