Is a woman's place at work?

Article Highlights

  • The prescription that a woman’s place is the workplace is as objectionable

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  • Antipathy toward stay-at-home moms goes back to the early days of modern feminism

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  • No one can seriously defend the view that women must be in the workplace--you will be left attacking a strawman

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This house believes that a woman’s place is at work. That is the motion The Economist’s editors invited me to oppose in a ten-day, online, Oxford-style debate. A friend urged me to decline. The motion is silly, she said. No one can seriously defend the view that womenmust be in the workplace. You will be left attacking a strawman. Don’t do it.

Well, I did do it. I have spent years studying the organized women’s movement, and I knew the motion would not lack for serious defenders. Antipathy towards stay-at-home mothers goes back to the early days of modern feminism. In her classic, The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedan called the traditional suburban home a “comfortable concentration camp” and described housewives as “walking corpses.” But Friedan was a moderate compared to feminist pioneer Simone de Beauvoir. Beauvoir once said, “No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children … Women should not have that choice, precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one.”

Read the full article on American.com

Christina Hoff Sommers is a resident fellow at AEI

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