Edited by Gertrude Ezorsky
Special Section on Women and Work
In this symposium:
Dorothy Sue Cobble's book, The Other Women's Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America (Princeton University Press, 2002), retrieves the forgotten feminism of the previous generation of working women. Their reform agenda — an end to unfair sex discrimination, just compensation for their waged labor, and the rights of their families and communities — launched a revolution in employment practices that has carried over into the present.
In their edited collection, Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy, Barbara Ehrenreich and Arlie Hochschild write that Third World women are on the move as never before, filling jobs in the "homes, nurseries, and brothels of the First World" (2002). The rushed and materialistic societies of the First World leave working parents little time to look after their children or their own parents. Women migrating from poor countries fill the gap.
While I was in the process of reviewing this volume, I took it to a party in Brooklyn attended by varied-and-sundry aging baby boomers, early 40s through 50-something types who are generally progressive, educated and (in tripartite terms of classification) middle-to-upper-middle class.
I have seen the welfare system first hand as a volunteer outreach worker at a Boston welfare office (Department of Transitional Assistance). The other day I walked into the office to see a distraught woman sobbing disconsolately on the floor. She had unknowingly parked in the parking lot of the Burger King next door. She moaned, "I begged him not to tow me. I told him that I am homeless and don't have any money to feed my children, but he didn't listen.
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