Jessie Bernard, in this serious book, pulls into an analytic framework the research, theory, and polemics about the status and problems of women as they relate to public policy. With a scholarly, deeply concerned eye, the author comprehensively examines areas of public interest, human resource development and utilization, self-fulfillment and sex roles, and the women's liberation movement. Bernard argues that sexual division of labor is at odds with the "general welfare" provision of the Constitution, and that artificial sexual allocation of function impedes the "pursuit of happiness" mandate of the Declaration of Independence.
Avoiding both the shrillness of political rhetoric about women's rights and the dullness of an impersonal research paper, Bernard writes knowledgeably and sympathetically about what women can and should do to change public policy and achieve their goals. She combs the sociological and related literatures to document and analyze women's special burdens and disadvantages in American society and concludes that a radical redrawing of sex roles is necessary. A generally positive discussion of the recent women's liberation movement, including portraits of some of its leaders drawn from personal interviews, is also included.
Designed for all readers, the book can readily serve as an overview of the historical roots of the women's movement. It provides excellent reading for courses in social psychology and sociology. Guidance counselors and personnel directors will find this book of continuing use, in their practical activities on behalf of career-oriented women.