Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
A wage is more than dollars and cents. It embodies specific, powerful ideas about gender roles, economic goals, and social justice. In this series of essays historian Kessler-Harris ( Out to Work , LJ 3/15/82) explores five struggles over how and why women should be paid for their labor: the early 20th-century debate over the ``living wage''; the legal battle for a minimum wage; public perceptions of working women during the Depression; the political struggle for the Equal Pay Bill; and today's comparable worth controversy. Kessler-Harris's text is dense with ideas and musings about the relationships among wages, women, the labor market, and how these relationships define our social concepts of ``women's role,'' ``fairness,'' and ``equality.'' She argues persuasively for a feminist viewpoint grounded in intense historical analysis. A challenging, thought-provoking book, highly recommended for graduate-level social science collections.-- Donna L. Schulman, Cornell Univ. ILR Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This book consists of five incisive lectures delivered by Kessler-Harris in 1988. Although instructive separately, together they represent a comprehensive dissection of the wage as a tool for social organization and social control. In "The Wage Conceived," prevailing notions about women's needs and their putative life-styles are linked to the limits of their political resources, as symbolized by the wage. "Law and a Living" examines court rulings on the minimum wage as reflections of contradictory domestic and market forces. "Providers" is the most enriching chapter for feminist theory; it fruitfully questions the assumptions often made in women's studies about women's ways of perceiving, judging, and acting on their circumstances. "The Double Meaning of Equal Pay" and "The Just Price, The Free Market, and the Value of Women" analyze the ambiguities and risks associated with the equal pay and comparable worth controversies. The book is carefully documented and indexed, and it has value for all the social sciences. -R. Zingraff, Meredith College
Author notes provided by Syndetics
<p> Alice Kessler-Harris is R. Gordon Hoxie Professor of American History and professor in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University. She is the author of numerous books, including In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men and the Quest for Economic Citizenship in Twentieth Century America ; Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States ; and A Difficult Woman: The Challenging Life and Times of Lillian Hellman .</p>