Joan Manheimer

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1981


Perspectives on Motherhood, a day-long conference designed to bridge the gap between women's studies scholars and women of the surrounding communities, was held on Saturday, April 4, at Sarah Lawrence College. The teachers and administrators from the Center for Continuing Education and the Women's History Program who co-sponsored the conference saw it as the beginning of a network linking current feminist scholarship and the lived experience of a wide variety of women. Despite these aspirations, we were surprised at the volume and range of concern our subject triggered in the community. The conference attracted enormous attention and a tremendous response. Four hundred participants registered; workshops filled up quickly; evaluations raved: "A wonderful day-a wonderful idea." "Great! More of this!"

A number of factors accounted for our success, not the least of which was dumb luck. We had stumbled onto a topic that cuts across class and race distinctions and has been the focus of particular tension for contemporary women. Despite radical changes in women's lives, motherhood remains the snag of many of our ambitions and the embodiment of many of our hopes.



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