Ann Crittenden

Ann Crittenden is an award-winning journalist, author, and lecturer. She was an economics and investigative reporter for The New York Times from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s, winning numerous awards and a nomination for the Pulitzer Prize. Prior to her work at the Times, she was a staff writer and foreign correspondent for Newsweek and a reporter for Fortune magazine. She has been a visiting lecturer at MIT and Yale, an economics commentator for CBS News, and executive director of the Fund for Investigative Journalism. Since leaving the Times, Crittenden has written four books and a play, in addition to numerous magazine articles for publications as diverse as Barron’s, Foreign Affairs, and Glamour.

Recent Articles

Do This for Mom

The Motherhood Manifesto: What America's Moms Want -- And What To Do About It by Joan Blades and Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner (Nation Books, 248 pages, $14.95) Leaving Women Behind by Kimberley A. Strassel, Celeste Colgan, and John C. Goodman (Rowman and Littlefield, 215 pages, $21.95) Kiki, a single mother of two and a legal secretary, had just moved from New York to a small town in Pennsylvania, where the cost of living was much lower. But first she had to find a job, which was proving surprisingly difficult. Finally, during the 11th job interview in which she was asked the same question, “Do you have children?” something clicked. She dared to ask how that was relevant to the work. The response was blunt. “He said if you don't have a husband and have children, then I pay less per hour because I have to pay benefits for the entire family.” Kiki, like most people, assumed that this kind of raw discrimination against a person, just because she was a mother, was illegal. She was wrong. The...

Don't Get Mad, Get Even

Getting Even: Why Women Don't Get Paid Like Men -- And What To Do About It by Evelyn Murphy with E.J. Graff ( Touchstone, 352 pages, $24.95 ) Just when you thought the news couldn't get any worse, here comes a report from the trenches of the American workplace, where apparently women are still being short-changed in the same old egregious ways. I must admit that I had thought that blatant, in-your-face sex discrimination was by and large a thing of the past, except in a few dark corners of male chauvinism like Wall Street, the extractive industries, the skilled trades, Hooters, and your neighborhood garage. You know, where things are filthy with lucre or grease or grime. But no, no such luck. A new and damning report by Evelyn Murphy, former lieutenant governor of Massachusetts, makes it clear that fair wages are still an elusive dream, even for women working full time, shoulder to shoulder with the boys. As Murphy documents, the reality in every imaginable occupation can be a...

The Friedan Mystique

In the first few days after Betty Friedan's death, columnists seemed deeply divided about the relevance of her work today. Judith Warner in The New York Times found her description of the female "problem with no name" still fairly accurate, as marriage for the most part continues to be an unequal bargain between a primary breadwinner and an economically dependent primary parent and toilet scrubber. Meanwhile, at The Washington Post , Ruth Marcus dismissed Friedan's complaints about the tyranny of polished floors and housewifery as so much ancient history. My own take is that Warner is closer to the truth, although Marcus certainly has a point. In 1960, while Betty Friedan was writing The Feminine Mystique , more than half of all American women over the age of 25 didn't even have a high-school degree, and the number of women in the professions might not have filled one sports stadium. Women were not equal citizens under the law. A woman couldn't buy a house or start a business on her...

Seven Meals from Murder

The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth by Benjamin M. Friedman ( Knopf, 592 pages, $35.00 ) Once upon a time I took an undergraduate course in the history of economic thought. The assigned text was a slim little volume whose author announced in his introduction that he intended the book for “the average man and the intelligent woman.” The Moral Consequences of Economic Growth , by the Harvard economist Benjamin M. Friedman, is aimed at the intelligent lay reader of either sex, which may or may not represent progress. Average students of economics no longer know much about the history or broader political context of their discipline, or have to read such popular classics as Robert L. Heilbroner's The Worldly Philosophers . Friedman's latest book is an effort to correct that narrow focus. Written in clear English, the book lays out a thesis that derives directly from the Enlightenment: Economic growth is not just about material well-being and more stuff. It is the essential bedrock...

Their Babies Are Everything

Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas ( University of California Press, 312 pages, $24.95 ) In the American pantheon of evildoers, “welfare moms” easily outrank rotten CEOs, corrupt defense contractors, and media moguls who sell sex and sensation. No group has been as demonized, denigrated, or denounced as the poor girls who have children before they are married or financially prepared. But why try to get to the bottom of complex cultural problems when kicking the underdogs and blaming them for what's wrong in America is such satisfying sport? Goaded by popular opinion, the massive federal government resembles an angry paterfamilias trying to crack down on rebellious teenage daughters without understanding what's behind their often feckless behavior. Thankfully, someone has now taken the trouble to ask poor mothers themselves what's going on. Kathryn Edin, a sociologist, and Maria Kefalas, an ethnographer, spent years...

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