The system of patriarchy can function only with the cooperation of women. This cooperation is secured by a variety of means: gender indoctrination; educational deprivation; the denial of women of knowledge of their history; the dividing of women, one from the other, by defining “respectability” and “deviance” according to women’s sexual activities; by restraints and outright coercion; by discrimination in access to economic resources and political power; and by awarding class privileges to conforming women.Excerpt from the last chapter (p. 217) of The Creation of Patriarchy by Gerda Lerner, Oxford University Press, New York, USA, 1986.
GERDA LERNER (1920-2013), an Austrian American historian, was the single most influential figure in the development of women’s and gender history since the 1960s. In 1980, she won a professorship at the University of Wisconsin where she built America’s first PhD program in women’s history. With the conviction that patriarchy was the first and ultimate source of all oppression, she undertook a massive research project in the 1980s that she published in two volumes: The Creation of Patriarchy (1986) and The Creation of Feminist Consciousness (1993). She served as President of the Organization of American Historians from 1981 to 1982.