Synopses & Reviews
A Woman's Place A woman's place is in the house... And in the senate," the T-shirts and buttons proclaim at women's political events. "A Woman's Place Is in Uniform," trumpets a book about women in the military. "A woman's place is at the typewriter," declared Fortune magazine back in 1935. That was convenient for the economy and so it was decreed. A few years later a woman's place was in the factory or in the nursing corps because that was essential for the war effort. Then a woman's place was in the home. And now? A woman's place is anywhere she wants it to be. Fine, but who's taking care of the children? That's the question that keeps us roiled up over this issue. Recently the country got all in a snit over the case of ababy apparently killed by his baby-sitter in Boston. Were people demanding the head of the baby-sitter? No, quite the contrary, it was the mother who came in for abuse by the radio callers and the editorial writers. She went to work three days a week, corning home at lunchtime to breast-feed, even though her husband had a perfectly good job. What kind of mother was she? Obviously, a selfish, greedy one who was willing to leave her children in the care of an inexperienced young woman. Wait a minute. Suppose she had gone out at night with her husband and left the babies with a teenager? What then? And didn't society just direct thousands of mothers to leave their children in another's care by requiring that we welfare mothers go to work? Could we make up our minds here, please? No, probably not, because we're still confused about this issue of a woman's place. We're confused because we know that no matter what else a woman is doing, she's also caretaking and we worry that a woman "out at work" might leave someone, especially her children, without care. That's what's at the heart of this sometimes vicious debate. Sure, a lot of other, much less noble, attitudes also underlie these arguments. Plenty of people still think that women are just plain uppity and they see a woman's place as someplace to put her. But I think it's the question of the children, and now old people as well, that truly troubles us. And women with children often find whatever choice they make uncomfortable. That wasn't always true. For most of human history menand women worked together in the same place and each one's work complemented the other's. No one thought the farmer's job was more important than the farm wife's. Neither could manage without the other. Teenage relatives often moved in to help care for the children, to protect them from household hazards like open fires while the busy mother made the soap and the candles, spun the cloth, pieced together the clothes, fixed the food. Women gathered together to help with large chores, and visited as they worked. They also congregated to attend to births and deaths, taking comfort from each other's company.Whenever I think of the courage it took to leave everything and everyone behind to come to this continent in the early years of colonization, I am struck by the fortitude of those settlers. First the trip across the ocean, then in later generations the trek across the continent, required women to "do it all." The history of the movement west is one of extraordinary men and women overcoming incredible odds together. It was the industrial revolution that changed everything. Men went out to work forwages, and they were paid for the hours they put in, not the tasks they completed. (Poor women went into the factories, or to domestic work, as well. In 1850 women comprised 13 percent of the paid labor force; this question of women's work is one directly related to economic class.) Suddenly, what women did at home lost its value because there was no paycheck attached. Repetitive housework replaced home manufacture as women's crafts moved into assembly-line production. And that's what we've been struggling with ever since. Doing work that is economically rewarded and socially recognized means leaving home. That could change with the information revolution, as machines make it possible to work just about anywhere. But I think it's unlikely to alter the fact that women aren't paid for their jobs as nurturers, and it still leaves women at home isolated from other women.
In this life-affirming collection of intimate portraits, renowned news correspondent Cokie Roberts explores significant issues confronting women on the cusp of the new millennium.
In this bestselling collection of essays, renowned news correspondent Cokie Roberts examines the nature of women's roles, from mother to mechanic, sister to soldier, through the illuminating lens of her personal experience. Each essay introduces us to several of the fascinating women Roberts has encountered during the course of her reporting career; Roberts also relates moving anecdotes about the women ion her life, like her mother, former congresswoman Lindy Boggs. These intimate portraits of women become the springboard for more extensive discussions of women's issues, suck as women's positions in politics, business, motherhood, and marriage.
Sensitive, straightforward, and perceptive, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters celebrates the diversity of choices and perspectives available to women today and affirms the bond of female solidarity--a vital, powerful interconnection among all women, whatever their background."What is woman's place? That's been the hot question of my adult life."
Renowned news correspondent, Cokie Roberts, explores significant issues confronting women on the cusp of the new millennium, such as the balance of work and family, the diverse roles of women, and the connection and distinction between different generations of women. She addresses these critical topics through the lens of her reporting career, melding her personal experiences with the experiences of other exceptional women she has met.Sensitive, straightforward, and perceptive, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters celebrates the diversity of choices and perspectives available to the women of today, but ultimately affirms a bond of female solidarity -- a vital, powerful interconnection among all women, whatever their background. It's an important message, delivered by one of America's most respected and eloquent journalists.
About the Author
Cokie Roberts is a political commentator for ABC News and a senior news analyst for National Public Radio. From 1996 to 2002, she and Sam Donaldson coanchored the weekly ABC interview program, This Week
In addition to broadcasting, Roberts, along with her husband, Steven V. Roberts, writes a weekly column syndicated in newspapers around the country by United Media. Both are also contributing editors to USA Weekend, and together they wrote From This Day Forward, an account of their now more than forty-year marriage and other marriages in American history. The book immediately went onto the New York Times bestseller list, following a six-month run on the list by Roberts's first book on women in American history, We Are Our Mothers' Daughters. Roberts is also the author of the bestselling Founding Mothers, the companion volume to Ladies of Liberty. A mother of two and grandmother of six, she lives with her husband in Bethesda, Maryland.