The dramatic changes of the 20th century propelled women into unprecedented circumstances. The entrance of women into public space, particularly through their involvement in the labour market, fundamentally changed meanings of feminine identity across the globe. Massive migration created encounters between women of different ethnicities, beliefs, and allegiances. This displacement produced an exchange of critical ideas and technologies between women across cultures, between women and the state, and between the demands of homemaking and workplaces.
Women were impacted by diverse factors including urbanisation, industrialisation, mass-migration and communication, the intervention of the nation-state in the duties of home and childraising, totalitarian political regimes and decolonisation, eugenics and contraception, medicine, AIDS and feminism. A Cultural History of Women in the Modern Age spans the 20th century with essays on changing ideas of the fetus, female orgasm, faith and forms of worship, pathology and technological intervention, the labour market, feminism and power, and challenges to the artistic canon by women of colour.