WOMEN'S WORK, WOMEN'S HEALTH: Myths and Realities by Jeanne Mager Stellman

WOMEN'S WORK, WOMEN'S HEALTH: Myths and Realities

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Stellman challenges several popular theories about women as workers--particularly the belief that smaller families are returning women to the workplace--and then authoritatively explores the relationships between women, their work, and their health. She calls attention to contradictions in company policies and Supreme Court rulings (especially those involving pregnancy and protective legislation), and then examines a variety of occupational hazards--skin irritants, noise levels, exposure to pollutants. Stellman finds that women are often excluded from stress studies--they have fewer heart attacks and don't qualify, their work is considered not stressful--and too frequently their health problems are cast in terms of childbearing capacities rather than overall constitution. Besides suggesting some overlooked areas for research (long-term stress effects of working and mothering), she dissects the recent lead industry decision to exclude ""fertile, gravid, or lactating"" women from jobs--well-paying jobs complying with Title VII requirements. This apparently humane policy effectively displaced women from needed employment while continuing to subject men (who may also suffer genetic mutation) to the same hazards, instead of finding safeguards to accommodate both sexes. Stellman is Chief of the Division of Occupational Health and Toxicology at the American Health Foundation. She writes forcefully, without stridency or sneering asides, and concludes, ""Childbearing and employment must be recognized as social rights and social functions for which social solutions must be provided.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1977
Publisher: Pantheon