e-Duke Books

From the House to the Streets:

The Cuban Woman’s Movement for Legal Reform, 1898–1940

By Kathryn Lynn Stoner

From the House to the Streets is the first study on feminists and the feminist movement in Cuba between 1902 and 1940. In the four decades following its independence form Spain in 1898, Cuba adopted the most progressive legislation for women in the western hemisphere. K. Lynn Stoner explains how a small group of women and men helped to shape broad legal reforms: she describes their campaigns, the version of feminism they adopted with all its contradictions, and contrasts it to the model of feminism North Americans were transporting to Cuba.

Stoner draws on rich primary sources—texts, personal letters, journal essays, radio broadcasts, memoirs from women’s congresses—which allow these women to speak in their own voices. In reconstructing the mentalité of Cuban feminists, who came primarily from a privileged social status, Stoner shows how feminism drew from traditional notions of femininity and a rejection of gender equality to advance a cause that assumed women’s expanded roles were necessary for social progress. She also examines the values of the progressive male politicians who supported feminists and worked to change Cuban laws.

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