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Reconstructive Feminism: Changing the Way We Talk About Gender and Work Thirty Years After the PDA

By Joan C. Williams


This Article seeks to challenge and change the way that we talk about gender-ways that make it difficult to progress on the work/family front. In the thirty years since the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) was passed in 1979, while the roles of men and women have changed dramatically, the American workplace has changed only incrementally, leaving women and men who wish to participate actively in childrearing still struggling to navigate both work and family successfully. The way we currently think about work/family matters reflects a number of unstated and undefended assumptions, as well as an inability to move beyond recycling the \u22sameness\u22 versus \u22difference\u22 debate, which asks whether women just need access to traditionally male opportunities and rights or whether women have real physical and psychological differences from men. Yet this and other debates within feminism-for example, antiessentialism\u27s debate over differences among women or the difference versus dominance debate-look very different once masculine norms are placed at center stage

Topics: Law
Publisher: Yale Law School Legal Scholarship Repository
Year: 2016
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