Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Women and the Family

Academic journal article Journal of Comparative Family Studies

Women and the Family

Article excerpt

O'CONNELL, Helen, prepared, WOMEN AND THE FAMILY, London, England: Zed Books, 1994, 140 pp., $17.50 softcover/$49.94 hardcover.

This volume is the eighth in the Women and World Development Series, developed by the UN-NGO Group on Women and Development, which assesses the status of women globally. Among the previous topics covered have been women and disability, women and health, and women and the environment.

Women and the Family is the most ambitious effort so far in the series in that its subject matter is probably the most difficult about which to generalize. Chapters cover "roles and rights", the work of caring for children and elders, economic relationships, the legal status of females in the family, the effects of religion and culture, and changes imposed by urbanization and international economic crisis. Most of the content in concerned with the ways in which conditions and structures of contemporary families limit women's power in the world.

The audience for this book seems to be women's groups and other organizations who want to educate themselves or others about women's status in families. It is not particularly intended for an academic audience and suffers from some drawbacks if one wanted to use it as a text in a university course. There are many sections which I find overgeneralized, without the extensive references which a longer university text book would include in order to justify making general statements. As well, the early chapters in particular do not offer enough specific examples of these general statements. The text attempts to cover a vast amount of material in just a few pages. For example, the author has the habit of just providing lists of factors certain writers have considered relevant to some issue without building the subsequent text around those factors. …

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