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|Known for||Feminist writer |
Meredith Tax is an American writer and political activist. She is regarded as a pioneer of the US women's liberation movement.
Tax was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1942, the daughter of Archie Tax, a doctor, and Martha Brazy Tax. She attended Whitefish Bay High school, was a National Merit Scholar and was in the twelfth graduating class of Brandeis University, 1964. She spent the next four years at Birkbeck College, University of London on Fulbright and Woodrow Wilson fellowships. She did not, however, finish her dissertation and gave up the idea of an academic career in favor of movement work and writing.
Tax's 1970 essay, "Woman and Her Mind: The Story of Daily Life," is considered a classic document of the US women's liberation movement. She is the author of a history book, The Rising of the Women: Feminist Solidarity and Class Conflict, 1880–1917 (1980; 2001); two historical novels, Rivington Street (1982; 2001) and Union Square (1988; 2001), and a children's picture book, Families (1981; 1996, 1998), which was attacked by the Christian Coalition for its nontraditional approach to family structure. In 1995, she and Marjorie Agosin, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ritu Menon, Ninotchka Rosca, and Mariella Sala wrote "The Power of the Word: Culture, Censorship and Voice", a ground-breaking pamphlet on gender-based censorship. Her collected papers are in the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke University. Her oral history was done in 2004 by the Voices of Feminism program at the Sophia Smith Collection. Her most recent publication is Double Bind: The Muslim Right, the Anglo-American Left, and Universal Human Rights, which criticizes left-wing support of right-wing Islamism. She has also written many political and literary essays, for The Nation, Village Voice, The Guardian, Dissent, openDemocracy, and other publications. Some of these essays, and her blog, can be found on her personal website.
She was a member of Bread and Roses in Boston and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union, and was founding co-chair of the Committee for Abortion Rights and Against Sterilization Abuse (CARASA), a pioneering reproductive rights organization. In 1986, Tax and Grace Paley initiated the PEN American Center Women's Committee and became its co-chairs; she later became founding Chair of International PEN's Women Writers' Committee and, in 1994, was founding President of Women's WORLD, a global free speech network of feminist writers. In 2011, she became chair of the board of the Centre for Secular Space, a think tank and advocacy group with a mission to oppose fundamentalism, amplify secular voices, and promote universality in human rights.
- The Rising of the Women: Feminist Solidarity and Class Conflict, 1880–1917 (1980; 2001)
- Rivington Street (1982; 2001)
- Union Square (1988; 2001)
- Families (1981; 1996, 1998)
- A Road Unforeseen: Women Fight the Islamic State (2016)
- "Voices of Feminism Oral History Project: Tax, Meredith" (PDF). Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- Biography at The Nation
- "Meredith Tax and Marshall Berman, Writers, Wed". The New York Times. July 12, 1982. Retrieved March 13, 2019.
- Full text of "Woman and Her Mind: The Story of Daily Life" by Meredith Tax
- Full text of "The Power of the Word: Culture, Censorship and Voice" by Meredith Tax with Marjorie Agosin, Ama Ata Aidoo, Ritu Menon, Ninotchka Rosca, and Mariella Sala.
- Meredith Tax at the Jewish Women's Archive
- Women's WORLD
- PEN American Center
- Guide to the Meredith Tax Papers at Duke University