Stay-at-home Moms or Working Mothers?

In the New York Times Sunday Opinion on May 8, 2011, professor of history and author Stephanie Coontz from Olympia, Washington wrote “One of the most enduring myths about feminism is that 50 years ago women who stayed home full time with their children enjoyed higher social status and more satisfying lives than they do today. All this changed, the story goes on, when Betty Friedan published her 1963 best seller, ‘The Feminine Mystique,’ which denigrated stay-at-home mothers. Ever since their standing in soceity has steadily diminshed.”

Later in the article she also writes, “Contrary to myth, ‘The Feminine Mystique’ and feminism did not represent the beginning of the decline of the stay-at-home mother, but a turning point that led to much stronger legal rights and ‘working conditions’ for her.”

Do you agree?

About The Girls from Winnetka

A New York Times bestselling author, Marcia Chellis has written two successful nonfiction books about women: Living with the Kennedys: Th e Joan Kennedy Story and Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Lives. She has been a guest on Th e Today Show, Larry King, Inside Edition, and numerous other television and radio shows. Her latest book titled The Girls From Winnetka can be purchased online or at bookstores and has received rave reviews.
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2 Responses to Stay-at-home Moms or Working Mothers?

  1. I was born in 1961 and grew up with a stay-at-home mother during these turbulent times for women. The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) battle was being waged when I was a teenager, because women didn’t earn as much as men. Fifty years later, women still aren’t earning as much as men overall and our opportunities still aren’t equal, but they are vastly improved. But again, they’re still not equal, which is why I get perhaps overly concerned when more and more of today’s young women choose to stay at home with their children. I know, the ability to have a choice is what we fought for — I just fear that we didn’t go far enough first before the tide started to turn. I don’t want to see us go back to the way it was in 1961.

    • Dear Cindy,
      Thank you for writing and your concerns about where women are today. I’ve always believed that women should have independence, both professional and financial. It makes us better partners and better mothers. Not to mention the gratificartion that comes from working at something you love and do well. As I know you do. Do you have children?

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