The author would like the reader to walk away from reading this book with an understanding of feminism, that is not just local or national but international as well. She takes "the perspective that cultural diversity must be respected but that it must not be used to excuse the maltreatment of women" (p.5). She wants the reader to understand that although what a woman in one culture might take for granted as a right might be something a woman in another culture is still fighting for but it does not make it any less of an issue under feminism. Burn wants to "give you some overall sense of the varieties of issues affecting women and the variety of their response, and how both these are affected by culture and women's roles as reproducers" (p.5).
1. The study of lesbianism is important to the topic of women across cultures because almost every country in the world has a lesbian sub-culture living somewhere in it, whether they want to admit it or not. The consequences of proclaiming yourself to be lesbian can be emotionally trying especially in societies that have very strict social roles that are to be maintained. Numerous countries deny having any problems with lesbianism because they have laws that outlaw it so it cannot possible exist.