DISPLACED HOMEMAKERS: Organizing for a New Life by Laurie Shields

DISPLACED HOMEMAKERS: Organizing for a New Life

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An insider's account of the displaced homemakers' movement as it originated with the Alliance for Displaced Homemakers in California in 1975 and continues through the present day--with federal legislation to back it (somewhat) and increased ranks to swell its strength. It's difficult to say exactly who this book will appeal to, other than those who, like its author, have been politically active with the movement; there isn't much suspense or excitement for the casual reader, and there are almost no tips for the woman heading back to work (other than what can be inferred from the stories presented). Shields and Tish Sommers, the founder of the Alliance, had to fight to get funding in California: Jerry Brown ""wanted to know why the legislation was needed at all, asking if it wasn't religious institutions, friends, and relatives such women should turn to in their need."" Some of their sisters, copying their lead, fared better in other states; and there are proud success stories from as far afield as Maryland and Iowa. But the real struggle was for funding at the federal level, prospectively as part of the CETA enactment; and the women's political inexperience nearly cost them dearly there. Committee members who wouldn't listen, who saw any age limit on funds as discriminating against younger women, who accused them of wanting a ""white middle-class women's"" bill, provided some tense moments; and when President Carter finally signed the bill, it was so vague as to include practically everybody, a lesson in the compromises of ""participatory democracy."" Though all is not yet rosy, centers and conferences have been set up, and progress is being made; both Shields and Sommers (in an epilogue) do a fine job of keeping the we-shall-overcome spirit going. Decidedly upbeat.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1980
Publisher: McGraw-Hill