Mother-Work

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

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Description

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.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 152.7 x 229.1 x 17mm | 373.24g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 0252064828
  • 9780252064821

Back cover copy

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.show more

Review quote

"Does a good job of portraying the popular roots and the genuine democratic openness of 'sentimental maternalism'... A substantial contribution to U.S. social and political history." -- American Historical Reviewshow more

Rating details

9 ratings
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4 44% (4)
3 22% (2)
2 22% (2)
1 11% (1)
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