This introductory chapter begins with a description of how feminists used the language and cause of national security, during the period between the Second World War and early Cold War era, to promote women’s education and employment, especially in the fields of science and engineering. It then sets out the book’s purpose, which is to illuminate the history of feminist interest in science before feminism’s second wave and to trace continuities between early and later efforts. An extended treatment of reformers’ use of scientific manpower concerns and national security prerogatives will expand the understanding of the problems and possibilities that they encountered along the way. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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