An ethic of maternalism was central to the utopianism of 19th century feminists. I don't think that today's women see motherhood as a source of personal power, let alone political power. I don't think that women now have that same sense that their lives as mothers gives them any special power or virtue. I think women see their lives as mothers as an adjunct to their working lives - a fulfilling and important adjunct, to be sure - but something they do in addition to working in the public realm, not because being a wife and mother gives them a distinct edge in improving the world as we know it.

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