Early in the twentieth century, maternal and child welfare evolved from a private family responsibility into a matter of national policy. In Mother-Work, Molly Ladd-Taylor explores both the private and public aspects of child-rearing, using the relationship between them to cast new light on the histories of motherhood, the welfare state, and women's activism in the United States. She argues that mother-work, "women's unpaid work of reproduction and caregiving," motivated women's public activism and "maternalist" ideology. 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 in many ways, including by reducing the infant mortality rate.
About the Author
Molly Ladd-Taylor is an assistant professor of history at York University, Toronto, and the editor of Raising a Baby the Government Way: Mothers' Letters to the Children's Bureau, 1915-1932.