Changes in Family Structure

Changes in Family Structure

Here to Stay: American Families in the Twentieth Century, by Mary Jo Bane. New York: Basic Books. 195 pp.

Conservatives panic at the thought of the demise of the American family; utopians call for its abolition. Both seem to agree that equality for women is not compatible with family life. Countering such conceits, Mary Jo Bane, a feminist, presents us with a persuasive argument that, as in the past, changes in family structure do not threaten the family as an institution. She argues that equal rights for women at work and in the home are compatible with family life. Nor is it threatened by smaller households, a larger incidence of divorce, and women’s work outside the home, three factors often taken as indices of the “crumbling of the American family,” with warnings of the massive neglect of children.

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Lima