Introduction: The Dynamics of ‘Race’ and Gender
During the past decade, feminism and Women’s Studies have been forced to acknowledge the diversities of women’s experiences, as well as the patriarchal oppression that they share. An emphasis on ‘difference’ has shattered the illusion of the homogeneity of, and sisterhood between, women, which previously characterized white, middle-class, Westernized feminist politics and analysis. With this has come an awareness that, although women may be oppressed by men within patriarchal relationships, there are also other areas of oppression in their lives, which they experience in a gendered way. Here emphasis has been given to age, class, disability, ‘race’ and sexuality. Yet, although ‘difference’ has become something of a catch-all phrase within feminism and is now a term to be found widely in the literature, less attention has been paid to specific analyses of its implications in concrete settings. Further, there is still a paucity of material concentrating on the interrelationship of ‘race’ and gender, in general, and the consequences of racism, for women of different backgrounds, in particular. It is the aim of this collection to contribute to debate and understanding in this area.