What Women Want: An Agenda for the Women's Movement

Oxford Univ. Sept. 2014. 240p. notes. index. ISBN 9780199348275. $29.95. POL SCI
Rhode (Ernest W. McFarland Professor of Law, director, Ctr. on the Legal Profession, Stanford Univ.; Justice and Gender) brings her wide-ranging knowledge of women's issues to this readable, well-researched, and relatively brief summation of the current situation of women in the United States. Despite the successes of a women's movement active for almost 50 years, Rhode points out that many problems still require both new legal measures as well as cultural change to achieve equity for women. She focuses this volume on persistent problems in employment, work/family-life balance, sex and marriage, abortion, poverty, sexual harassment and rape, and women's underrepresentation in political office. Throughout, the author suggests strategies to ameliorate these problems. Few of her proposals are, alas, new. Rhode's agenda reiterates long-standing calls for, among other things, paid leave, publicly subsidized child care, pay equity, access to contraception, better enforcement of laws prohibiting discrimination, and a more generous social safety net. Hostility to feminism and to a more expansive role for women in government, as well as the (incorrect) notion that women have already achieved equality, impedes progress, and Rhode wants to see a revived feminist movement to contend with its opponents.
VERDICT An excellent introduction to the women's movement for the interested layperson.

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