It’s Up to the Women

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The suggestions are familiar: women should receive equal pay for equal work, keeping a household budget is essential, divorce may be preferable to a family being lastingly unhappy. The messages in Eleanor Roosevelt’s first book, It’s up to the Women are every bit as relevant today as when first published in 1933. As a reluctant “First Lady” when FDR became President of the United States, she remains a role model for multi-tasking. As the author of several books and a weekly newspaper column, she traveled across the country addressing organizations and conventions directed at social justice while still playing her part in political life.

Eleanor Roosevelt took education as a prominent cause, recognizing teaching as a vocation, not a stopgap between graduation and marriage. Children, she advocated, needed more freedom than less, and “[i]t is far more important for the child to be thrown into contact with some really interesting mind than it is for him to learn a particular group of facts.”

The short chapters are easy to read and never dogmatic, cheered by anecdotes about real or hypothetical friends. The pages on women and working conditions hit hardest: women must organize to strengthen their demands, seek maternity leave, and seize the chance to work productively outside the home. She slipped up on only one point, anticipating a foreseeable end to the untenable hours and pitiful wages a maid received: “[S]he was usually a foreigner and, with restricted immigration, she has, I think, disappeared, as she undoubtedly should.”

Harvard American History professor Jill Lepore introduces this edition, supplying a detailed background to both the author and the “shocked” reception the book received.


Reviewed By:

Author Eleanor Roosevelt • Jill Lepore, Introduction
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 256 pages
Publisher Nation Books
Publish Date 2017-Apr-11
ISBN 9781568585949
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue July 2017
Category History
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