Home: Feminist Ethics, Women's Work, and the Betrayal of Family Values
Daniel C. Maguire, President, Religious Consultation
on Population, Reproductive Health and Ethics
Beverley Wildung Harrison, Union Theological Seminary
John Raines, Center for Comparative
At the very time when most women's lives are defined by a lack of income, time, and energy, and when being stressed-out is for them more common than the common cold, politicians and other professed guardians of public virtue are stridently lamenting the loss of what they define as "family values." Even as women enter the workforce to provide essential income for their families while attending to children, spouse, and the endless round of domestic chores, every sort of social ill from drug addiction to unwed mothering is laid at their door. As Gloria H. Albrecht shows, this dismal situation is not merely a cultural irony; it is a potential social tragedy.
In a book that combines learning, eloquence, and wit, she explains how this paradox symbolizes the new face of family life in America's post-industrial economy.
"Hitting Home" carefully documents the growing abandonment by business and government of their social responsibility to sustain the well-being of families. She exploses "family-friendly" policies as being in fact policies that are friendly primarily to the profit-oriented goals of the corporate world. Business strategies, touted as the new methods of efficiency, reveal the fundementally anti-family nature of an economy designed from its origins to exclude those authentic values that arise from caring relationships.
Albrecht amasses compelling data which are illuminated by portraits and stories of the real people whose daily lives are the grist of economics. She emphasizes how sermonizing family values advocates ignore the connection between their ideal family and its exploitation of underpaid "help," whether actual servants, or cooks, or nursery attendants, or child-care provides, etc.--none of whom can themselves afford to support staff necessary to attain the status of being an acknowledged nurturer of those mythic family values.
Throughout her book, Albrecht maintains that authentic family values require an equal social commitment to two connected goals: women's equality and the well-being of families.