The problem of the subordination of women and the need for their liberation was recognized by all the great socialist thinkers in the nineteenth century. It is part of the classical heritage of the revolutionary movement. Yet, for most of the mid-twentieth century, the problem became a subsidiary, if not an invisible element in the preoccupations of socialists. Perhaps no other major issue was so forgotten. In England, the cultural heritage of Puritanism, always strong on the left, contributed to a widespread diffusion of essentially conservative beliefs among many who would otherwise count themselves as ‘progressive’.