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Public Policy and Mothers

  • By: Joanne C. Minaker
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Various concerns or issues intersect when questions of mothering meet public policy. Some issues become part of the public agenda, while others remain personal struggles. Public policy changes require public will, political support, and allocation of resources. At the heart of these debates lie two central, albeit misleading, assumptions based on traditional dichotomies: first, that motherhood is private and the policy world is political; and second, that the complexity of women's lives is best understood as either/or—private or public, work or family, personal or political. Feminist scholarship contests these binaries. Nowhere is “the personal is political” more apparent than with women's roles, responsibilities, relationships, and choices as mothers.

Moreover, women in most countries worldwide remain marginal to policies, practices, and laws that tacitly and directly impact ...

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