Two books of major significance to the modern women’s movement are now available as eBooks – “Feminism for the Health of It” by Wilma Scott Heide, and “A Feminist Legacy: The Ethics of Willma Scott Heide and Company” by Eleanor Humes Haney.
Wilma Scott Heide was bom on February 26, 1921 and died on May 8, 1985 of a heart attack. One of the most respected of feminist/human rights scholars/activists in the world, Dr. Heide was a nurse, sociologist, writer, activist and lecturer. During her lifetime she actively demonstrated intellectual force, caring and commitment in articulating the women’s movement imperatives for society. She served as visiting professor and scholar at several universities, consultant to various state education associations and innumerable colleges, churches and many branches of the government, education and social organizations. In 1984 Wilma described herself as: Behavioral Scientist at American Institutes for Research; Human Relations Commissioner in Pennsylvania; Chairone of Board and President of NOW (1970-1974); Professor of Women’s studies and Public Affairs at Sangamon State (would-be) University in Illinois; Feminist and Humorist-at-Large
These two books were originally published in 1985 by MargaretDaughters, a small independent feminist publishing company founded by Charlene Eldridge Wheeler and Peggy Chinn. They named their company after their mothers, both of whom were “Margaret.” They met Wilma on the occasion of an International Women’s Day celebration in Buffalo, New York where Wilma was featured as a guest speaker. Her dissertation, titled “Feminism for the Health of It” had never been published in book format, and the eager Margaretdaughters publishers were thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this important work into book form. Shortly after, they connected with Ellie Haney, who had been planning a biography of Wilma’s life that highlighted the amazing and inspiring feminist philosophy that grounded Wilma’s work.
Wilma challenged the patriarchal status quo with an inimitable humor, keen intellect, and a steadfast feminist commitment. She was the third President of NOW, during which she actively led the organization to turn away from the homophobic “lavender menace” messages of the earliest years of the organization. She led a number of actions of civil disobedience, several of which contributed significantly to moving the Equal Rights Amendment out of committee and into the nation-wide U.S. constitutional review process. She insisted that newspapers cease segregating the “help wanted’ columns by “male” and “female” – a change that is possibly one of the most influential in expanding economic opportunity for women.
Even though she did not practice nursing for most of her career, she never waivered in her identity as a nurse and her commitment to the deepest values of nursing that are today reflected in the Nursing Manifesto – caring, the right of all people to a high level of health and wellness, the essential element of peace in realizing health for all, and the imperatives of consciousness and action to bring about real change.
There are elements in both books that may seem limited or inadequate given the perspectives we have today, but both remain significant and current not only for their historic value, but for the light they shed on today’s persistent political and social challenges for women, for nursing, and for health care. I am thrilled to have brought these works forward into the present in accessible, affordable formats! I hope you will visit your preferred eBook provider now and consider making them part of your library!