For more than four decades, the cold war chilled political debate about what women and American families need for their well-being. The family was sacrificed to cold war hysteria and military over-investment. National health programs and child care looked too much like “what they did in the communist bloc.” Then the abortion wars of the 1980s channeled feminists’ energy and resources into fighting “pro-life” attacks on women’s reproductive rights.
Now that the cold war is over and the abortion wars have subsided, we are entitled to an intellectual dividend. At long last, old preoccupations can be replaced by a practical focus on urgent social and economic needs. The time is ripe to forge a new feminist agenda that can cross class and race lines and have some impact on the lives of ordinary women and their families....
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