The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family

Madeleine M Kunin, Author
Madeleine M. Kunin. Chelsea Green, $17.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-60358-425-8
Reviewed on: 05/07/2012
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-60358-291-9
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American feminism gets family-oriented marching orders in this data-laden call-to-arms. Vermont's first female governor, Kunin (Pearls, Politics, and Power) argues that a revolution in work-life balance is good for women, families, and even the world economy. In a genteel tone, feminists are urged to abandon "patience, silence, [and] politeness" in favor of anger, imagination, and optimism in a multi-pronged battle for family-focused workplace flexibility and benefits. Kunin compares U.S. work policies and attitudes with those ranging from heavily subsidized Nordic laws, to the more measured approaches of the U.K., Canada, and Australia, arguing that reform makes good business, social, and political sense. The book backs up facts with sober voices from business, politics, and education, but it is Kunin's account of her journey from "original earth mother" to helming the Green Mountain State that crackles. This fiery septuagenarian ("I'm still angry," she tells her friends at lunch) maintains that equity and justice for families and children, particularly those living in poverty, will keep America competitive and advance the struggle for parity between the sexes, and urges feminists to unite across generations, social classes, sexual preferences, and politics. Though Kunin's passion is obvious in her anecdotes, a heavy-handed reliance on statistics and expert opinions will likely make this book appeal more to already-active feminists than to a general audience. (May)
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