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Chasing Equality: Women’s Rights and US Public Policy, Susan Gluck Mezey and Megan A. Sholar

Reviewed by Sara Chatfield
 

Chasing Equality provides a detailed overview of both the history and contemporary politics of a number of public policy issues related to women’s equality in the United States. Specifically, Susan Gluck Mezey and Megan A. Sholar highlight five key issues: educational opportunities, employment discrimination, work-life balance, access to contraceptives, and abortion rights. For each issue, the authors describe the policy landscape and its impact on women, drawing connections across multiple institutions and levels of government. This book should be especially valuable for students hoping to understand gendered policy issues from several angles.

One of the most valuable things about this work is the way it draws attention to the iterative, multibranch nature of policy development. For example, in analyzing pregnant workers in the workforce, the authors trace the history of this issue from the legislature (1964 Civil Rights Act) through the bureaucracy (EEOC interpretations), and then to the courts (rulings in the 1970s that allowed pregnancy discrimination under Title VII). Then, the public reacted negatively to these rulings and lobbied Congress, ultimately leading to the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in 1978. Subsequent court rulings then led to further activism and legislative efforts. This type of analysis makes it abundantly cle

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