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A Woman's Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences

Overview

In this updated edition of a pathbreaking classic, Alice Kessler-Harris explores the meanings of women's wages in the United States in the twentieth and twenty first centuries, focusing on three issues that capture the transformation of women's roles: the battle over minimum wage for women, which exposes the relationship between family ideology and workplace demands; the argument concerning equal pay for equal work, which challenges gendered patterns of self-esteem and social organization; and the debate over ...

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A Woman's Wage: Historical Meanings and Social Consequences

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Overview

In this updated edition of a pathbreaking classic, Alice Kessler-Harris explores the meanings of women's wages in the United States in the twentieth and twenty first centuries, focusing on three issues that capture the transformation of women's roles: the battle over minimum wage for women, which exposes the relationship between family ideology and workplace demands; the argument concerning equal pay for equal work, which challenges gendered patterns of self-esteem and social organization; and the debate over comparable worth, which seeks to incorporate traditionally female values into new work and family trajectories. Together, these topics and social organization; and the debate over comparable worth, which seeks to incorporate traditionally female values into new work and family trajectories. Together, these topics illuminate the many ways in which gendered social roles have been produced, transmitted, and challenged.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Poses hard, pressing questions about wage justice and provides the historical perspective that is needed to answer them." — New York Times Book Review

"Argues persuasively for a feminist viewpoint grounded in intense historical analysis. A challenging, thought-provoking book." — Library Journal

"A rich collection of essays about the gendered construction of the wage in the twentieth-century United States." — Women's Review of Books

Library Journal
A wage is more than dollars and cents. It embodies specific, powerful ideas about gender roles, economic goals, and social justice. In this series of essays historian Kessler-Harris ( Out to Work , LJ 3/15/82) explores five struggles over how and why women should be paid for their labor: the early 20th-century debate over the ``living wage''; the legal battle for a minimum wage; public perceptions of working women during the Depression; the political struggle for the Equal Pay Bill; and today's comparable worth controversy. Kessler-Harris's text is dense with ideas and musings about the relationships among wages, women, the labor market, and how these relationships define our social concepts of ``women's role,'' ``fairness,'' and ``equality.'' She argues persuasively for a feminist viewpoint grounded in intense historical analysis. A challenging, thought-provoking book, highly recommended for graduate-level social science collections.-- Donna L. Schulman, Cornell Univ. ILR Lib., New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813145136
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 5/20/2014
  • Series: Blazer Lectures
  • Edition description: Updated Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 204
  • Sales rank: 975,149
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Alice Kessler-Harris is R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History and professor in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University. She is the author of numerous books, including In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth Century America; Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States; and A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman.

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