Beyond Suffrage: a Book Review

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The book, Beyond Suffrage; Women in the New Deal, presents the role of women in the 1930's in a much different light than many people think of it. The goal of this book is to enlighten the reader as to what role women played in politics during the New Deal. Because of it's broad view I have taken several specific examples from the book and elaborated on them in order to give you a better understanding.

The author, Susan Ware, begins by laying the groundwork for the women's network. During the 1930's, many different organizations began to evolve to include women in their decision-making. The backbone to this movement seems to lie deep within the White House. The First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt, held a great deal of influence in decisions regarding women and their role. Ware writes of Mrs. Roosevelt as the "foremost member of the women's network in the 1930's," and throughout the book Roosevelt's influence seems to be everywhere.

Moving on, the twenty-eight women discussed in this book are all linked through a complex network, which made them very strong in a time where women had no real strength. Almost all of them held top federal jobs in Washington DC. They were all educated women, born in the same generation. A sisterhood, supporting each other and encouraging each other after every victory, no matter how small, linked them very closely. These women gave each other the moral support and mentorship that seems absent in today's society.

Another part of the book, discusses the role of Molly Dewson, head of Women's Division of the Democratic Party in recruiting and retaining women to the party. Dewson's attitude was often misunderstood as she "overlooked" minor jobs such as secretaries and stenographers, in order to focus on the big picture of women being involved in New Deal programs. Dewson's role in keeping the women of the Democratic party pacified by small jobs and honorary positions kept these women's spirits strong. By keeping these...
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