Comparing the affluent U.S. of today to the Titanic (which, as a luxury liner, nevertheless lacked lifeboats for steerage women and children), Sidel contends in this realistic appraisal that despite the women's movement, social and economic trends of the last 20 yearsespecially the divorce rate and mechanization of industryhave reduced to bare survival hundreds of thousands of already impoverished women and children. Many are older women, battered wives or female heads of families, asserts Sidel (who interviewed several of them), and they are often victims of sex and racial discrimination in the workplace or of government cutbacks in human services. Following Sweden's example, the U.S., she argues, should develop policies to strengthen family life through universal entitlements; should pay women better wages, provide family planning, maternity leaves and prenatal care, along with day and after-school care. Sidel, a sociology professor at Hunter College, wrote Women and Child Care in China. (April)
Sidel uses interviews, federal data, and other current materials to synthesize the history of women's economic status in the United States and calls for the adoption of a radical national family policy predicated upon allowances for child-care leave, comprehensive health care, day care, and welfare reform. This is not a blueprint for restructuring society. Sidel argues compellingly that there exists in the United States a deep cultural and economic bias against women and children, but she offers moral suasion alone as an impetus to action. Furthermore, she fails to explain how to motivate acceptance of her creative proposals for change. For comprehensive collections. Susan E. Parker, Tufts Univ. Lib., Medford, Mass.