Chapters 11-12 of Women in World History by Hughes

Subject: History
Pages: 2
Words: 583
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: School

Chapter 11 Summary

The first key concept to understand was the rise of political parties in China, the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party. The rise of new Asian societies after 1800 entailed both a push for liberation from traditional feudal constraints and the seeking of new paths to modernization. In China, the 1911 Revolution overthrew the Qing Dynasty and established the Republic of China. The Kuomintang (KMT) emerged as the dominant force in Chinese politics, but it was beset by internal strife and civil war with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) (Hughes & Hughes, 1997). In 1949, Mao Zedong’s CCP succeeded in seizing control of the mainland government, resulting in the establishment of the People’s Republic of China.

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Another key concept was the concept of women’s contribution to Japan’s industrialization. In traditional Asia, women had been largely relegated to the home and family sphere, while men dominated politics and business. However, as these societies became more industrialized and urbanized, women began to take on new roles in the workforce. Meiji restoration of the 19th century transformed Japan from an agricultural to industrialized nation (Hughes & Hughes, 1997). Poor women from Samurai families were the first government’s Tomioka mills workers.

Additionally, women’s contribution in World War II was also a key concept; after 1800, new Asian societies such as China and Japan began to seek liberation from European dominance. In both countries, women made important contributions to the effort. For example, Japanese women mobilized masses to work in factories during World War II (Hughes & Hughes, 1997). They produced not only military supplies but also repaired damaged infrastructure. Chinese women were active in the Communist Revolution, forming guerrilla forces and leading armies.

Chapter 12 Summary

In Women in World History, 1500 to present, Hughes and Hughes explain that the personal is political. This means that every choice a woman makes in her life – from the clothes she wears to the way she votes – has a profound impact on not just her own life but on society as a whole. One example of this is the women’s suffrage movement. In The Americas: The personal is political Chapter 12, Sarah and Brady describe how women in North America and South America fought for the right to vote. They did this by forming organizations like the National American Woman Suffrage Association and protesting against unfair laws.

The chapter argues that feminism has achieved major successes in the last century, but there is still much work to be done. One key concept discussed is the idea of intersectionality, which refers to the way that different forms of discrimination overlap. For example, a woman may experience sexism as well as racism. Another key concept is the importance of recognizing the contributions of women throughout history (Hughes & Hughes, 1997). Too often, women’s accomplishments have been overlooked or forgotten. It is only by understanding and celebrating these achievements that true progress can be made.

The author argues that the personal is political and that all aspects of a woman’s life – from her childhood experiences to her relationships- are shaped by the political context in which she lives. The chapter begins with a discussion of Indigenous women’s roles in pre-Columbian societies. It then looks at the impact of colonization on women’s lives, highlighting the ways in which European men sought to control and dominate Indigenous women. The chapter concludes with a discussion of contemporary issues facing women in The Americas, including violence against women, inequality, and poverty.


Hughes, S., & Hughes, B. (Eds.). (1997). Women in world history: Vol. 2. Readings from 1500 to the present. Routledge.

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