Until I read a review of this reprinted (and updated) book, I didn't know there were any women at Vatican II. It was not an easy read and I had to concentrate on keeping the woman straight as I read. Still, it was informative and a reminder of the novelty of having women present at the Council (even if they couldn't speak), invited by the Pope himself.
The book is a reminder of the optimism and excitement the Council generated, and a quote by Archbishop Hallinan of Atlanta is representative: ". . . Every opportunity should be given to women, both religious and lay, to offer their special talents to the service of the church, and the role of 'auditrices' in the present council must be only the beginning." He went on to say that "women must come closer to the altar" and suggested they should be permitted to act as lectors and altar servers; that women should be permitted to become deaconesses; that women should be encouraged to becomes teachers and consultants in theology after proper training; and "that women religious be fully represented and consulted, at least in all matters concerning their interests, in the Congregation for Religious and in the commission for the revision of Canon Law."
We would never hear such audacious recommendations today.
The author notes that continued progress after the Council ended was slowed and eventually stopped and in some cases reversed. It is also worth mentioning that the author is a religious sister who, according to her own account, was fired from teaching theology at St. Meinrad Seminary for her "public dissent" from teaching on women's ordination. However, her book is well researched and clearly written.