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Essays by what are billed as ""major feminist thinkers."" Apparently all are professional women from Britain and Canada; Mitchell and Oakley supply no credentials for the nine contributors other than themselves. The sum of these pieces amounts to a rarified examination of the history, development and problems of the women's movement in Britain, Canada and (in one essay) the US. The essayists place particular emphasis on the inherent dichotomy between the principle of equal treatment of the sexes in the working world and the fact that women can attain equality only when they are supplied with special treatment, i.e., paid maternity leaves and low-cost facilities for infant and child care. Many of the authors examine how the three countries have diversely handled this dilemma. Others carp about officious physicians and social workers in Britain's welfare state who are, in their estimation, interfering with the way women handle their pregnancies and raise their children. Lacking detailed knowledge of the political and social structure of Britain and Canada, many American readers will find it difficult to get a handle on what the writers are driving at. Professionals in women's issues and widely-read lay people are the logical market here.

Pub Date: Jan. 15th, 1986
Publisher: Pantheon