Mother-Work: Women, Child Welfare, and the State, 1890-1930

Overview

Early in the twentieth century, maternal and child welfare evolved from a private family responsibility into a matter of national policy. Women played the central role in this development. In Mother-Work, Molly Ladd-Taylor explores both the private and public aspects of childrearing, using the direct relationship between them to shed new light on the histories of motherhood, the welfare state, and women's activism in the United States. Mother-work, defined as "women's unpaid work of reproduction and caregiving," ...
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Overview

Early in the twentieth century, maternal and child welfare evolved from a private family responsibility into a matter of national policy. Women played the central role in this development. In Mother-Work, Molly Ladd-Taylor explores both the private and public aspects of childrearing, using the direct relationship between them to shed new light on the histories of motherhood, the welfare state, and women's activism in the United States. Mother-work, defined as "women's unpaid work of reproduction and caregiving," was the motivation behind women's public activism and "maternalist" ideology. Ladd-Taylor emphasizes the connection between mother-work and social welfare politics by showing that their mothering experiences led women to become active in the development of public health, education, and welfare services. In turn, the advent of these services altered mothering experiences in a number of ways, including by reducing the infant mortality rate. By examining women's activism in organizations including the National Congress of Mothers and Parent-Teacher Associations, the U.S. Children's Bureau, and the National Woman's Party, Ladd-Taylor dispels the notion of "mother-work" as a contradictory term and clarifies women's role in the development of the American economic system.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252064821
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/1995
  • Series: Women in American History
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,051,240
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Mother-Work at Home
1 The Work of Mothering 17
Pt. 2 Mother-Work in the Community
2 "When the Birds Have Flown the Nest, the Mother-Work May Still Go On": Sentimental Maternalism and the National Congress of Mothers 43
3 "The Welfare of Mothers and Babies Is a Dignified Subject of Political Discussion": Progressive Maternalism and the Children's Bureau 74
4 "How Cruelly Unjust to Handicap All Women": Feminism and the Abandonment of Motherhood Rhetoric 104
Pt. 3 Mothers and the State
5 "Every Mother Has a Right": The Movement for Mothers' Pensions 135
6 "We Mothers Are So Glad the Day Has Come": Mothers' Work and the Sheppard-Towner Act 167
Conclusion 197
Index 207
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