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Title A pregnancy test: women workers and the hybrid American welfare state, 1940-1993
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Publication Date
Date Accessioned
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department History
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign
Abstract This dissertation shows that the US developed the outlines of a maternity policy at least by WWII. Rarely were the needs of pregnant workers or new mothers at the top of social policy initiatives. However, when European countries were developing their plans, reformers and bureaucrats sought to establish similar plans in the United States and, for a while, seemed like they might. Politics intervened in the form of the Cold War. With a few state level exceptions, the experiences of WWII were largely dismantled in the wake of political changes, business and medical opposition and the Red Scare. Subsequent policies that emerged grew largely in the private sector where women’s disadvantages in the workforce constrained maternity in the blossoming system of employee fringe benefits. Where they could, unions defended women’s access to contractual benefits, but this effort was hampered by the marginalization of maternity in the private system. Finally, with the emergence of a rights framework in the 1970s, feminist lawyers forced the inclusion of pregnancy into the central operating welfare state of private workforce relationships and benefits, leading to the current national maternity policy. However, conservatism and globalization limited this approach and indicate the necessity of public social supports for maternity, or family, benefits.
Subjects/Keywords pregnancy discrimination; Maternity leave; childbirth; maternity benefits; health insurance; working mothers; Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA); Cold War; Emergency Maternity and Infant Care (EMIC); Red Scare; Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA); parental leave; welfare state; fringe benefits; Martha May Eliot; Mildred Fairchild; Coal Employment Project; Charlotte Silverman; International Labour Organization; Maternity Convention; Rhode Island Cash Sickness Compensation; work-family balance; Ruth Weyand; Ruth Young; Donna Lenhoff; Young v. UPS; LaFleur v. Cleveland Board of Education; Cohen v. Chesterfield County School Board; Gilbert v. GE; Geduldig v. Aiello; Turner v. Department of Employment Security of Utah; Patricia Schroeder; California Savings and Loan v. Guerra
Contributors Pleck, Elizabeth (advisor); Pleck, Elizabeth (Committee Chair); Barrett, James (committee member); Boris, Eileen (committee member); Reagan, Leslie (committee member)
Language en
Rights copyright 2015 Ruth L. Fairbanks
Country of Publication us
Record ID handle:2142/89031
Repository uiuc
Date Indexed 2018-11-19
Grantor University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Issued Date 2015-12-03 00:00:00

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