Excerpted from The Militant socialist newspaper
Vol. 75/No. 21 May 30, 2011
How women became, and will cease being, ‘the second sex’
Final volume of ‘Woman’s Evolution’ to be published in Iran—a moment to celebrate
Below is the preface to the third and final volume of the Farsi edition of Woman’s Evolution, a book by Evelyn Reed. The volume is titled “The Patriarchy.” This translation into Farsi, the official language of Iran, is in the final stages of preparation by Golâzin, a publishing house in Tehran. The preface was written in April by Mary-Alice Waters, president of Pathfinder Press and Evelyn Reed’s literary executor. Waters explains that the book “provides a scientific examination of how women came to be, and will cease being, ‘the second sex.’” The first two volumes in Farsi were on sale at the 24th Tehran International Book Fair, which took place May 4-14.
BY MARY-ALICE WATERS
With the publication of the translation of volume III of Woman’s Evolution, Evelyn Reed’s groundbreaking work is now available in its entirety in Farsi. The two sections of the book previously published by Golâzin, “The Matriarchy” and “The Fratriarchy,” are joined by the third and final section, “The Patriarchy.”
First published more than thirty-five years ago, Woman’s Evolution was acclaimed as a “fascinating and scholarly” study, “an impressive and absorbing reconstruction of human history,” and “a definitive work on evolutionary theory as it relates to women.” The historical perspective Reed presents, however, was no less controversial for the praise it received, and the reason is not difficult to discover.
That perspective is indispensable if women’s equality and the full creative and productive capacities inherent in the social labor of women and men alike are to be realized. She provides a scientific examination of how women came to be, and will cease being, “the second sex.”
Woman’s Evolution was the culmination of more than a quarter century of work by Reed, a lifelong socialist and well-known speaker on university campuses around the world. Three collections of her talks and essays—Problems of Women’s Liberation, Cosmetics, Fashions, and the Exploitation of Women, and Sexism and Science—translated by Afshang Magsoudi, have been published by Golâzin. In each of these works, Reed sought to clarify the origins of human society and the forces that drive its progress. The thread that runs through all of them is the consistent defense of historical materialism against apologists for the existing social order and the anti-evolutionary currents that have long dominated the field of anthropology.
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