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In this women's liberation organizing packet...

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Women's Liberation & National Health Care:
Confronting the Myth of America

--A Redstockings' Organizing Packet
edited by Kathie Sarachild, Jenny Brown
& Amy Coenen

Fall 2001
60 horizontal 8.5 X 11 pgs.

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Doug Henwood interviews the editors

An intergenerational team of radical feminist organizers evaluates the changing landscape of feminist strategy in the United States, and makes a strong case for a new departure. Ironically, the new departure also involves returning to some older, more radical feminist understandings--from the 1960's and early 1970's, and even from the first decades of the 20th century.

They start by puncturing the myth of America, the heavily hyped notion that the U.S. is number one in wages, living standards, health care, and that U.S. women are the most liberated in the world.

Not true, Redstockings argues. U.S. women are more readily tracked into unpaid care work and made dependent on men and employers because we lack the kind of universal "social wage" or "citizen wage" programs so familiar in other industrialized countries.

Redstockings dissects the job-linked benefits system in the U.S., showing how it further skews the balance of power in favor of men over women and in favor of employers over workers. The book focuses on the urgent example of health insurance, which most U.S. women currently rely on their employers or their husbands' employers to provide. Meanwhile, nearly every other industrialized country in the world provides universal free health care regardless of employment, age, or marital status.

The book offers an arsenal of facts, arguments, and feminist history and provides an energetic and encouraging analysis of what the feminist movement has accomplished and where we can go from here.


From Women's Liberation and National Health Care: Confronting the Myth of America

"National health insurance is one of those universal programs that will help free women from having primary and unpaid responsibility for child care and family care...When combined with feminist consciousness and organizing, all these programs can help give women more bargaining power -- at home with men, and as wage earners...Feminists in the United States have only the barest inkling how much more has really been accomplished in other countries and why."


Myth America, Women's Liberation & National Health Care

Consciousness-Raising Questions on National Health Care

Beyond the Family Wage: A Women's Liberation View of the Social Wage

Wages for Housework vs. the Wage and Social Wage

A Song: "Bad Queen Thatcher"

Welfare "Reform":An Attack on Women's Pay

Overwork, Women's Liberation & National Health Care

The Primary Culprits

Insurance Companies vs. Women's Equality


"A central goal of women's liberation is that responsibility for family care ... be shared more equally between men and women and individuals, families and society as a whole. Responsibility for health care is a major part of this burden of family care that feminism is fighting to share more equally."

"I watched my mother run around during a 3 or 4 year period trying to take care of her own mother and her mother-in-law ... It really illustrated to me how the unpaid labor of women is what keeps this system going and how we need this labor to get paid and shared around..."

"In the U.S. when feminists fought against the concept of the family wage, where the man supposedly supported the family and women's employment was considered undesirable and 'pin money', we did so without the kind of 'social wage' that was already in place as an alternative in ... European countries."

"The "social wage," from public education to childcare to eldercare to national healthcare for everyone, are programs as important to freeing women from unpaid, unwilling service in the home, in the family and in the nation as is the right to contraception and abortion.