[Read more: ]In their pursuit of liberty and equality in the marketplace, women’s advocates challenged conventional views of motherhood and the divide between public and private life in America. The women’s movement exposed the male-breadwinner model of the economy as a fiction, and women from all social ranks fought for new economic arrangements and cultural norms. In many respects, they succeeded; in some, they failed. Women gained new freedoms in the marketplace, but feminists did not fully resolve the dilemmas of motherhood or win political support for new initiatives to support it. Nor did they harmonize the interests of different groups of women. A similar story accounts for the successes and failures women met when they challenged, at the same time and with equal commitment, another dimension of American life that many considered not just deleterious but cruel and repugnant: their lack of control over their own bodies.
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