In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men, and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in 20th-Century America

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Oxford University Press, Sep 20, 2001 - Social Science - 384 pages
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In this volume, Alice Kessler-Harris explores the transformation of some of the United States' most significant social policies. Tracing changing ideals of fairness from the 1920s to the 1970s, she shows how a deeply embedded set of beliefs, or "gendered imagination" shaped seemingly neutral social legislation to limit the freedom and equality of women. Law and custom generally sought to protect women from exploitation, and sometimes from employment itself; but at the same time, they assigned the most important benefits to wage work. Most policy makers (even female ones) assumed from the beginning that women would not be breadwinners. Kessler-Harris shows how ideas about what was fair for men as well as women influenced old age and unemployment insurance, fair labor standards, Federal income tax policy, and the new discussion of women's rights that emerged after World War II. Only in the 1960s and 1970s did the gendered imagination begin to alter--yet the process is far from complete.
 

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Classic study of economic inequality in the 20th Century US. Read full review

Review: In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men, and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in 20th-Century America

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Intensive history of the ways that traditional motherhood role of women have impacted women's quest for economic equality. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
3
CHAPTER 1 The Responsibilities of Life
19
CHAPTER 2 Maintaining SelfRespect
64
CHAPTER 3 Questions of Equity
117
CHAPTER 4 A Principle of Law but Not of Justice
170
CHAPTER 5 What Discriminates?
203
CHAPTER 6 Whats Fair?
239
Epilogue
290
Notes
297
Index
365
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About the author (2001)

Alice Kessler-Harris is the R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History at Columbia University, where she also teaches in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. A leading advocate of women's rights in the United States, she has been a featured speaker at a special White House symposium and an expert guest on the PBS documentary "The Measured Century." She is the author of Out to Work, A Woman's Wage, and Women Have Always Worked.

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