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The New Future of Motherhood

Mothers don’t "choose" their way into the motherhood problem, and we can't choose our way out of it.
So where do we go from here?

By Judith Stadtman Tucker

May 2005

Never until this very historical moment,” the late sociologist Jesse Bernard wrote in her treatise on the future of motherhood, “have women rebelled as many are now doing against the very way we institutionalize motherhood.”

They are daring to say that although they love children, they hate motherhood. That they object to being assigned sole responsibility for child care. That they object to having child care conceived of as their only major activity. That they object to the isolation in which they must perform the role of mother, cut off from help, from one another, from the outside world. For the first time, they are protesting the false aura of romanticism with which motherhood is endowed, keeping from young women its terrible “hidden underside” which “is hardly ever talked about.”

Bernard continues: “A group of women, basing their conclusions on their own experiences as participant observers— or rather observant participators— note almost point for point how the way we institutionalize motherhood is bad for women. They call on women to organize ‘to fight those aspects of our society that make childbearing and child rearing stressful rather than fulfilling experiences.’”

Considering that these observations were made over 30 years ago, the litany of grievances Bernard recorded— and mothers’ resolve to “to fight those aspects of our society that make childbearing and child rearing stressful rather than fulfilling experiences”— seem depressingly familiar. Bernard believed the momentum of the mid-20th century women’s movement, coupled with heightened concern about the depletion of the earth’s natural resources due to overpopulation, would pave the way for a more mother-friendly society, particularly for women who wanted children but desired less child-centric lives. The key to all this, she argued, would be forging a new “script” for 21st century motherhood— a script offering an unsentimental appraisal of the pros and cons of motherhood while promoting the revolutionary idea that the well-rounded life of any mother involves more than just mothering. Bernard predicted this seismic shift in cultural consciousness would transform the way men and women share all the necessary work of society— both paid work and unpaid caregiving— and that policymakers would respond to the brave new order by implementing a comprehensive system of social supports for working parents, including paid parental leave, flexible workplaces, better options for part-time work with good pay and opportunities for advancement, more educational and occupational on- and off-ramps for women at all points in the life course, and universal access to affordable, high-quality child care.

Unfortunately, things didn’t exactly work out that way— and here we are in 2005, still talking about the future of motherhood. More importantly, some of us are talking about mobilizing an organized social movement with the express purpose of shaping that future. And while various groups claiming to represent the best interests of mothers may envision this movement as a mothering movement, a motherhood movement, or a mothers’ rights movement, there is general agreement that a powerful confluence of unfavorable social conditions— including cultural ideals assigning competing values to the vital functions of public and private life, retrogressive political trends, sex discrimination,; pernicious stereotypes, intransigent workplace standards, and inadequate or outdated social policies— lie at the heart of the contemporary motherhood problem. We’re all aware of how this problem plays out in the lives of women who mother— of how, despite dramatic increases in their level of paid employment, mothers continue to provide a disproportionate share of the unpaid caregiving work that supports our families and economy, and how this limits their occupational mobility and earning potential. Activist mothers know the time mothers devote to unpaid caregiving significantly increases the odds they will experience financial insecurity and diminished well-being over the course of a lifetime. And we all believe something must be done about it— sooner rather than later.

In fact, the diverse proponents of the emerging mothers’ movement are quite clear about what they want the next future of motherhood to look like. We want mothers to have better lives with less role strain and better options for integrating work and family. We want respect and recognition for the social and economic value of mothers’ work— both paid employment and the unpaid care work mothers do at home. We want more flexibility in the workplace, and we want equal pay for equal work. We want public policies that respond to the needs of dual-earner couples and single parent women, we want reasonable protection from economic hardships mothers may incur due to their maternal status, and we want men to take a more active role in child-rearing and domestic life in general. We agree that an organized social movement— a broad-based grassroots uprising— will be crucial to achieving this kind of sweeping change. However, there is a lack of consensus among mothers’ advocates about why change is necessary. Is it necessary to improve the lives of women? Or is it necessary to improve the lives of children and create a more humane and sustainable society?

Ultimately, the answer is “yes” to all of these commendable goals. But as a writer and activist who views the objectives of the mothers’ movement through the lens of progressive feminism, I feel compelled to add a word of caution: If we want both public respect and support for the work of mothering as well as equality for women— meaning full social, economic and political citizenship for all women, nothing more, and nothing less— we have a duty to pay close attention to not just what we're asking for, but how and why we're asking.

Why feminism still matters

There is a certain mistrust of feminism among leaders of the new mothers’ movement based on a shared perception that the priorities of second wave activism left lower-income women and women with caregiving responsibilities in the lurch, and the widespread impression that, politically speaking, feminism is something of a non-starter for the average American mom. But before we relegate feminism to the scrap heap of dated ideas, I think it’s important to take a closer look at the reasons Jesse Bernard’s bold predictions about the future of motherhood missed the mark.

There’s no question the climate for motherhood has changed since The Future of Motherhood was published in 1974— the real problem is it hasn’t changed enough. The feminist agenda to promote women’s economic independence was moderately successful in clearing the way for women’s participation in the professional and skilled labor force, which opened up important work/life opportunities for mothers that never before existed. Unfortunately, the full-scale invasion of male dominated professions by highly qualified female workers was not enough to rehabilitate deep-seated cultural attitudes about women, children and family.

Despite the fact 65 percent of American children live in households where all parents are employed, today’s high-performance workplaces are still structured as if every wage earner can rely on a full-time caregiver to pick up the slack at home. And since traditional attitudes about appropriate roles for men and women still exert a powerful influence on the way we organize our families and workplaces, mothers are much more likely than fathers to find themselves squeezed out of full-time employment. Thanks to our cultural obsession with the lives and lifestyles of affluent urbanites, high-profile media reporting tends to concentrate on the work-life predicaments of exceptionally well-educated mothers in upscale occupations. But the grim reality is that the overall lack of workplace flexibility and the miserly provisions of U.S. policies to support working families take the heaviest toll on lower-income parents.

And if that’s not bad enough, we’re still stuck with the myth of the omnipotent mother— the absurd (but tenacious) notion that children are perfectible, and mothers are the only ones who can perfect them. It’s comforting— not to mention politically expedient— to cling to the belief that the optimal development of children depends solely on their exposure to a specific quality and quantity of maternal devotion, as if families’ access to resources and general social conditions had no real bearing on children’s prospects. Regrettably, both conservative and liberal thinkers have gotten away with advancing the preposterous theory that if the nation’s errant mothers would simply buckle down and do the job of motherhood the way it was meant to be done— meaning a married, child-centered, resource intensive, selfless sort of way— the country could substantially rid itself of a host of pesky social problems, such as poverty, crime, substance abuse, obesity and moral decay.

The idealization of conscientious mothering as a kind of universal salve for what’s gone wrong with society has tremendous appeal— both to those who benefit from the social and economic subordination of women, and to mothers themselves. It’s immensely gratifying to think the more mundane aspects of caregiving— the cooking, the cleaning, the endless rounds of delivering and retrieving our children from their assorted educational and recreational activities— add up to something more than a sum of their parts, and it’s reassuring to imagine that we have more control over the events and encounters that shape our children’s lives than we probably do. It’s uplifting to believe that all the work we put into keeping our children safe and sound helps us cultivate specialized skills and sensitivities we can use to change their world for the better— either through our own direct actions or through the positive contributions of our mindfully-reared children. It’s wonderfully affirming to hear that mothers are irreplaceable, that motherhood is “the most important job in the world,” that diligent mothers acquire a deep and abiding wisdom about the essential nature and needs of children— not just their own children, but all children, everywhere— that those lacking maternal experience can never hope to match.

When I’m in one of my gloomier moods, I tend to think of the reflexive veneration of motherhood as a sort of consolation prize— even though we live in a society that systematically discounts mothers and the work they do, at least we have a reason to feel good about ourselves. But I also appreciate that mothers reprise these conventional sentiments because they genuinely feel true to us— and because when it comes to expressing the depth of our emotional attachment to our children and the personal meaning of motherhood, it's the only type of language and logic our culture is prepared to validate.

The trouble with this narrative of heroic motherhood is that it flows from the exact same stream of ideology that neatly sections the full range of human activity and emotional response into two separate spheres— a great big one labeled “his” and an itty-bitty one labeled “hers.” It’s part of a carefully cultivated story that says women are particularly well suited for caring work while men are better equipped for jobs that demand strategy, strength and competition. And even though we’ve finally reached a point in the history of human progress where each side of the talent pool is willing to tolerate some incursion from the other, we’re still operating from a worldview that assumes the fundamental capacities of men and women are different and fixed. This is why we just know women are better suited to dependency, in all its variations, while men are made for autonomy— and over the course of the last 300 years (and probably very much longer) an exceptional amount of intellectual energy has been devoted to explaining why this is and must always be so. But remember, it’s just a story— one story out of any number of stories we might tell about the nature of men and women and how they live together.

When we talk about the practice of conscientious mothering in such gendered terms, it sounds pretty good— good for mothers, good for children, good for society. The major rub is that this timeworn estimation of the innate abilities of the sexes underpins a social order in which men still have considerably greater power than women do, and this makes it practically impossible for women to get the resources they need to preserve their own health and well-being— and that of their children— without submitting to some degree of subordination. Needless to say, this works to the advantage of individuals and institutions with a vested interest in retaining their present level of social power and privilege. And clearly, it works to the disadvantage of women, children, and everyone else who is excluded from the dominant group.

I’ll admit this analysis sounds disconcertingly theoretical when the tender subject at hand is how mothers care for and about their children. But it does offer an alternative explanation— dare I say, a feminist explanation— for why mothers work less, are paid less, and spend more hours doing unpaid child care and housework than fathers do. Love and “choice” may indeed factor into it, but I like to imagine that it’s technically— if not politically— possible to create a future of motherhood where women’s love and women’s choices are fully compatible with women’s equality.

If the ultimate aim of the mothers’ movement is to advance the status of women who mother, it will be counterproductive to frame our appeals for policy reform in a manner that fails to challenge traditional gender roles— or to demand better support and services for mothers now and hope women’s equality will “trickle down” later. When we valorize the work of mothering as the most important job in the world, we inevitably reinforce the same ideological system that devalues the work of caregiving and limits women’s individual and political power— they power they need to change the world for children or anyone else. When we suggest the practice of mothering instills in all mothers a refined moral sensibility or fundamental intuition about what children need to thrive both at home and in the world, we relieve those other than mothers of the responsibility of ensuring that our children inhabit a non-violent and caring society, and we inadvertently strengthen distorted cultural assumptions about who mothers are and what they do best. And if we truly want caregiving to count in our society, we must be courageous enough to release it from its secondary status as women’s work.

Why motherhood is not a job

If we want women’s equality to be part of the big picture of a mothers’ movement, it may be necessary to start from scratch and begin to imagine new possibilities for the meaning of motherhood, mothering, and caregiving in our society. The task at hand is to build a legitimate case for social change without resorting to sentimentalizing or idealizing the practice of mothering, and without minimizing the social significance and emotional complexity that motherhood adds to the lives of women who mother. In seeking common ground for collective action, we might begin by questioning whether there are any universal aspects of maternal experience. Based on my study of motherhood as a social issue and my experience of corresponding with hundreds of mothers over the past few years, I’m convinced there are a least two: Becoming a mother changes you, although it doesn’t change every mother in exactly the same way; and all women who mother are disadvantaged by the cultural and social circumstances under which they must mother, but not all are disadvantaged in exactly the same way, or to the same degree.

I’ve been accused of alienating potential supporters of the mothers’ movement by suggesting that motherhood is not, in fact, "the most important job in the world." And to be perfectly honest, I don’t think it is. I don’t think motherhood is a “job”— or a profession, or career— at all, although there's no denying that mothering entails a prodigious amount of mental work and physical labor. And when I criticize the valorization of motherhood and magical thinking about women’s power to change the world through conscious acts of responsible mothering, some readers may find me unsympathetic and pity my poor children for having such a hard-hearted mom.

To tell the truth, I have very deep and passionate feelings about the meaning of motherhood in my own life and the lives of other women who mother. That’s why I’m doing this work. It’s also why I’m so forthright in my rejection of pre-packaged narratives of motherhood that— based on both my personal experience and the view from my critical eye— are contrived to conceal, rather than reveal, the social and emotional value of motherhood and mothering.

My therapist (may a thousand blessings rain down upon her head) has always insisted that motherhood is not a job— it’s a relationship. And in my mind, thinking and talking about motherhood as a relationship— rather than a system of social reproduction, or a duty, or a vocation— is one way we might start to compose a rich new script for motherhood, a script that honors the possibility of complexity and variation in mothers’ inner lives, individual outlooks and aspirations.

If we locate motherhood and mothering in the context of relationship, we can still talk about love, work, desire and obligation, but we might be able to talk about these things in a more authentic way— or at least without feeling as though there is only one right answer to the question of what it means to be a mother. After all, interpersonal relationships do give rise to the impulse and obligation to care, although the strength of the impulse and the intensity of the obligation usually depend on the tenderness of the attachment, and the nature of the needs of the person we’re attached to. Because caring for others is not always easy or spontaneous, caring relationships put us in touch with the intricacies of our own emotional clockwork— and in this way, they can alter us. They can lead to new awareness of ourselves and others around us; they push us to grow. And this is just as true for the care-giver as it is for the cared-for.

When we look at motherhood as a relationship, we have an opportunity to weave a more mother-centric story to explain why becoming a mother can be a profoundly transformative experience, and why it never transforms every mother in precisely the same way— because when we conceive of motherhood and mothering as relationship, we’re describing an individual process, not a monolithic one. (Or as Jesse Bernard suggests, “Motherhood may work miraculous changes in women, transforming at least some of them into a close approximation of the model, or a close facsimile thereof, but for the most part women enter motherhood with the full complement of human virtues and defects, as various as all other living beings, and they remain different to the end.”)

Perhaps if we begin to think of motherhood as something other than a job, we might discover a new way to acknowledge that motherhood is an ending— the ending of a woman’s life as not-a-mother— and also a beginning, not of a different life, but of a changed one; a life that’s still full of open-ended and unexpected possibilities as well as added responsibilities. When we start talking about motherhood as a relationship, we— women, mothers— take ownership of it. And by the way, fatherhood is also a relationship, not a “role,” and it’s about time we started talking about the meaning of that, too.

Our new narrative of motherhood-as-relationship might also be used to articulate why contemporary mothers feel set apart from the rest of society in both good and bad ways. For example, in addition to divvying up our social world along gender lines, our culture also breaks down the rest of human experience into a series of dualisms— such as mind/body, public/private, productive/reproductive, competitive/compassionate, rational/relational— and assigns competing values to each side of the pair. The upshot is that behaviors and traits considered ideal on one side of the set are usually considered negative and inappropriate in the other. Such distinctions make our messy human lives seem a little more orderly and manageable, but it’s important to recognize that they are almost entirely arbitrary and culturally defined. Many people, female and male, struggle with this disconnect— because while it’s relatively easy to shift our concentration and actions in response to different social situations, we can’t split ourselves in two. We are always completely who we are every minute of our lives; we can’t conveniently shed selective aspects of our rational and relational selves when we move into a different setting. So if we accept that motherhood is a relationship and not a job, it’s becomes clear there is no sliding scale to being a mother— our motherliness isn’t based on the number of hours we put into mothering.

But no matter how firmly we plant our feet in the competitive world of free market enterprise, the emotional tethers of the private, relational world are always drawing us back to the reality of human feeling and need. At the same time, our aspirations may constantly pull us outward, inviting us to walk on a different edge of our lives. Everyone experiences this pull of opposites to some degree, but since our present social system depends on women to maintain the compassionate half of the world— and because the needs of children are so urgently felt by children and the people who care for them— mothers may feel the conflict between work and family life most acutely.

When you add all this up, it becomes easier to understand why conforming— or attempting to conform— to the prevailing cultural model of ideal motherhood feels more “natural” to us than resisting it. And the sensation Daphne de Marneffe describes as "maternal pleasure"— one of the emotional perks we get from being in relationship with our children— is real and palpable (Maternal Desire, 2004). But mothering can also be unbearably frustrating, depressing, unsatisfying, oppressive— because being a “perfect” mother (or an “ideal” worker) usually means we have to put a big chunk of who we are on hold. We need a more generous and holistic model of motherhood to fit the fullest expression of our maternal lives— and by describing motherhood as a relationship, not a job, in our script for the new future of motherhood, we begin to stretch the boundaries.

Unfortunately, the motherhood-as-relationship model doesn’t quite get us off the hook for gendered thinking, since by the time boys and girls reach adulthood they’ve been thoroughly bombarded with the message that women are inherently more expressive and attuned to relationship than men— there’s even a school of feminist thought that supports this notion. But if we want equality and justice for women, we’ll need to figure out a way to counteract the presumption of male indifference in our hypothetical script. We might begin by suggesting that it’s shortchanges everybody when we assume that mothers get more out of being in relationship with their children than fathers do, or that fathers’ level of attachment to their children and the attendant obligation to care for them is less compelling than that of mothers.

Even if the framework still needs some tweaking, looking at motherhood as a relationship could shift the dialog in the right direction. Unlike jobs, relationships aren’t results oriented— they’re process oriented; they evolve. So instead of looking at child-rearing as a project and children as blank slates on which mothers inscribe the lines of success or failure, we can begin to consider the ways children are active participants in their own upbringing. Also, it’s safe to assume all relationships are unique, since every relationship encompasses all the unique qualities and personal histories each individual brings into the mix— in other words, it’s unrealistic to suggest that all caring mothers should and do feel exactly the same way about the same things, even though they all share the experience of being in relationship with children.

But what I find most attractive about this idea of motherhood-as-relationship is the opportunity to bring our maternal experience back to a personal scale, and to acknowledge that healthy relationships, including the relationship between a mother and her child, are fluid enough to contain a full range of human feeling— from the most profound love to the deepest ambivalence. So rather than romanticizing motherhood or reducing it to an outcome-oriented project, we might be able to speak more freely about how emotionally complicated and variable this whole business of mothering truly is.

So rather than falling back on the old script that venerates mothers as protectors of children and the stewards of the caring world, we might open up a world of possibility by starting to describe motherhood as one of the most intense, important, and complicated relationships in the world— for both mothers and children. Even if becoming a mother doesn’t align women with a uniform sense of purpose and passion, perhaps the relational reality of motherhood offers us an unparalleled opportunity to know how it feels to be vulnerable, fallible, and utterly human. And as Cecelie Berry, editor of Rise Up Singing: Black Women Writers on Motherhood remarks, “if confronting the stuff of humanity doesn’t bring us together, then, frankly, nothing will.

Back to the future

The good news is that a number of contemporary mothers are beginning to think and talk and write about motherhood in ways that expose the complexity and conflicts of mothering— both as a social experience and a private one. In print and online, we can now find countless examples of mothers peeling away heavy layers of ideology to get to the naked truth of motherhood. Some dig farther down than others, but the work is underway; a small but growing group of mothers is fully engaged in “rewriting the script for the role of women as mothers,” just as Jesse Bernard predicted in 1974. In this instance, the future of motherhood is already here.

On other measures, however, we’re still waiting for the future to happen. Despite her faith in the inevitability of women’s equality, Bernard knew the political tide had already turned on the women’s rights movement when she wrote The Future of Motherhood. She describes, in considerable detail, the defeat of bi-partisan legislation authorizing federal funding for a comprehensive day-care system in the U.S. When President Richard Nixon vetoed the Comprehensive Child Development Bill in 1971, he cited concerns about the legislation’s potential to accelerate the erosion of the patriarchal family. “For the federal government to plunge headlong financially into supporting child development would commit the vast moral authority of the national government to the side of communal approaches to child-rearing over the family-centered approach.” The campaign for universal child care, which in the 60s and 70s was a centerpiece of the agenda of the National Organization for Women and other mainstream feminist groups, never regained momentum.

Bringing the United States up to speed with other economically developed countries in terms of a national program for job-protected leave for childbirth has been another uphill battle. When the Parental and Disability Leave Act of 1985— an early precursor of the Family and Medical Leave Act— was introduced to Congress, it included provisions for 18 weeks of unpaid parental leave and 26 weeks of unpaid medical leave for an employee’s own serious illness, and covered all workers in businesses with five or more employees. Staunchly opposed by an influential coalition of business groups, the final version of the FMLA— which provides just 12 weeks of unpaid parental or medical leave for workers in businesses with 50 or more employees— was not signed into law until 1993. (A similar version of the bill was vetoed by George H.W. Bush in 1991.) As Christopher Beem and Jodi Heyman write in Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future (2002), the passage of the FMLA was “an important milestone in American society; both legislators and citizens demonstrated their awareness that American’s working life had changed and our society needed to respond to that change.”

Yet for all the success, even its most ardent supporters would acknowledge that the FMLA is but a minor advance. Compared to Western Europe, our level of support for those with work and family responsibilities remains woefully inadequate. What is more, the hope that the FMLA would be the first of many federal work and family initiatives has not yet been borne out.

With the neo-conservative power base launching an all-out attack on women’s reproductive rights and working to dismantle core social programs and labor regulations even as I write this, it seems unlikely there will be any “federal work and family initiatives” coming our way soon. In fact, current opponents of the FMLA are pressuring the Department of Labor to make changes that will make it more difficult for workers to take job-protected leave when they need it. Advocates for expanding the FMLA and providing paid sick and parental leave to all workers are currently focusing their resources on what more can be done at the state level to support working families.

Concerned mothers should be very, very worried about what the future has in store. At a time when millions of mothers and children live near or below the poverty line; when one out of every four woman workers lacks any duration of paid leave allowing time off to care for a newborn or sick child (and when over half of all mothers with any paid leave have just three workweeks or less); when women earn less than similarly qualified men in all but a small number of occupations; when one-quarter of single-parent mothers have no health care coverage; when the cost of quality child care for infants and toddlers adds up to more than the cost of state college tuition in some regions; when influential fathers’ rights groups are pushing for state-wide reduction or elimination of child support payments to divorced mothers; when only one out of five mothers report enough schedule flexibility at work to meet their caring needs, American mothers should be up in arms. We should be marching through the streets and making noise. We should be banding together to make it perfectly clear that women don’t “choose” their way into the motherhood problem, and they can’t choose their way out of it— unless, of course, they choose not to become mothers at all, which, for the vast majority of us, is an unthinkable alternative.

As Miriam Peskowitz points out in The Truth Behind the Mommy Wars (2005), mothers and fathers are taking steps to relieve the backward drag and social isolation women experience when they become mothers by making changes in their households, workplaces and communities. But on a larger scale, mothers’ activism— and women’s activism in general— seems to be stuck in a rut. According to Susan Faludi, author of Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women (1991), Jesse Bernard may have had more cause for optimism than we do today. In a recent address on “Feminisms Then and Now,” Faludi remarked that in 1974, “Women were passionate about changing society. In comparison, we seem relatively complacent— not the next wave of feminism, but the receding trough after the wave has crashed.” But, she added, “American feminism has always been a stop-and-go affair. No matter how often feminism has been declared dead, it has always managed to come bounding out of the coffin roaring with life.” (As reported by Ken Gewertz, Harvard News Gazette.)

I sincerely hope the 21st century mothers’ movement will be part of that revival. And I hope that, thirty years from now, another generation of disillusioned mothers won’t be wondering why the U.S. is the only economically developed nation in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid parental leave for all workers -- or feeling outraged because America’s families still don’t have universal health care coverage and access to affordable, quality child care -- or discovering anew that the way we organize our workplaces is fundamentally inhospitable to workers with caregiving responsibilities -- or trying to figure out what it will take to get dads more involved in the nitty-gritty work of family life. I hope today’s mothers’ advocates will have the foresight, courage and stamina to keep pressing forward, even when we’re moving against the headwinds of cultural resistance and meaningful progress seems miles beyond our reach. One thing is clear: an effective mothers’ movement is not destined to be a short-term venture with limited goals. In fact, the deliberate remaking of the future of motherhood may be one of the most ambitious political projects ever undertaken.

In an essay on the ideal division of labor in postindustrial society, political theorist Nancy Fraser provides an admirable blueprint for a mothers’ movement that acknowledges the centrality of caregiving to a humane and just society without compromising the larger goal of securing equality for women who mother. She writes:

The trick is to imagine a world in which citizen’s lives integrate wage-earning, caregiving, community activism, political participation, and involvement in the associational life of civil society – while also leaving some time for fun. This world is not likely to come into being in the immediate future. But it is the only imaginable postindustrial world that promises true gender equality. And unless we are guided by this vision now, we will never get any closer to achieving it.

That's my vision for our future. And I’m looking for others who want to join me in making it come true.

mmo : may 2005

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Christopher Beem and Jodi Heymann, editors, Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future, the Work, Family and Democracy Project, 2002

Jesse Bernard, The Future of Motherhood, Dial Press, 1974

Fraser, Nancy, “Gender Equity and the Welfare State: A Postindustrial Thought Experiment” in Democracy and Difference: Contesting the Boundaries of the Political, Seyla Benhabib, ed, Princeton University Press, 1996.

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