October 19th, 2009
04:50 PM ET

Maria Shriver: A woman’s nation changes everything

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Maria Shriver
The Shriver Report
The Center for American Progress

Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress decided to closely examine the consequences of what we thought was a major tipping point in our nation’s social and economic history: the emergence of working women as primary breadwinners for millions of families at the same time that their presence on America’s payrolls grew to comprise fully half the nation’s workforce. In addition, we were watching the Great Recession amplify and accelerate these trends. We are in the midst of a fundamental transformation of the way America works and lives.

But my own interest wasn’t just academic. It sprang from a very personal source: my mother. My family wasn’t much like what we were watching on TV in the 1950s. My parents had a tag-team work life—my father working in a factory during the day; my mother in a pink-collar job from 5 p.m. until midnight. Like millions of families today, they juggled, struggled, nurtured, laughed a lot, and fought a little so that their kids could lead good lives and get ahead. I don’t think my mother ever really thought of herself as a trendsetter, but she was at the leading edge of a wave that shaped America in the last half of the 20th century—a wave we call “a woman’s nation.” Though she recently passed away, she still serves as a role model for my daughters.

So I was delighted when Maria Shriver, who cleverly conceived of the phrase “a woman’s nation,” came to me with the idea of combining a project she envisioned with CAP’s work and together producing a landmark examination of thisfundamental change in American society. We realized that Maria could add invaluable depth to the efforts underway because she recognized not only the enormous impact of these changes on the workplace, but their import for every aspect of the American life and culture, as well. A partnership was born, and it produced a document that goes far beyond the typical findings of your standard economic policy report.

This report brings together the relentless intellect of a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist who pushes beyond statistics to fully reveal the complexity of women’s lives and the academic muscle of a progressive think tank that understands how to comb through data and illuminate the trends re-shaping the American landscape.

Read the full report here

Filed under: Women's Issues • Women's Rights
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