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

Knot For All

Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz ( Viking, 448 pages, $25.95 ) Gay Marriage: Why It Is Good for Gays, Good for Straights, and Good for America by Jonathan Wauch ( Times Books, 224 pages, $22.00 ) Marriage is a shape-shifting institution if there ever was one. Those who think they know what “traditional” marriage is might ponder these facts: The biblical patriarchs were polygamous, effectively owned their wives, and had the power of life and death over their children. The early Christian prelates were so suspicious of sex even within marriage that in the 6th century, Pope Gregory the Great warned that conjugal pleasure “cannot under any circumstances be without blame.” For centuries the Catholic Church refused to bless the remarriages of widows and widowers, especially if the woman was too old to have children. Ireland, the last western European country to legalize divorce in the 20th century, was the last to forbid it...

What Do Mothers Want?

The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women By Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels, Free Press, 383 pages, $26.00 Maternal Desire: On Children, Love, and the Inner Life By Daphne de Marneffe, Little, Brown, 401 pages, $25.95 The natives are restless again. For the past several months there has been an extraordinary ferment in the media over the topic of motherhood. Hundreds of books, newspaper and magazine articles, talk shows, and Web sites have been buzzing with a new version of a very old question: What do women want? Updated, the question is, what do mothers want? Why are they so plagued with guilt and anxiety, so unclear about their place in the overall scheme of things? There is nothing remotely equivalent going on in forums frequented by men. Are women just more prone to self-doubt? Are they simply more open to discussing in public their private dilemmas and agonizing life choices? Or, as is all too obvious, are the options available to...

Feminist Face-off

On Sunday, April 25, an abortion-rights march -- known as the March for Women's Lives -- is being organized in Washington, D.C., by groups such as the National Abortion Rights Action League, Pro-Choice America, the National Organization for Women, and the Feminist Majority in Washington. Here, Ann Crittenden, author of The Price of Motherhood , talks with Sarah Wildman, a Prospect senior correspondent, about reproductive freedom, motherhood, and, above all, feminism. Ann Crittenden : What does feminism mean to me? I can speak for myself and not for an entire generation, of course, but here goes: I was part of the second stage of the women's movement, in the 1960s and early '70s, and our struggle was about two things: first, reproductive freedom, and second, economic freedom and opportunity. The latter meant breaking down the doors leading to better-paying jobs, including the professions and management-level positions. People can scarcely imagine those barriers today. The great...

The Muscle State

Closing the Leadership Gap: Why Women Can and Must Help Run the World By Marie C. Wilson, Viking Press, 256 pages, $24.95 Americans are currently living under the most stereotypically male leadership we have seen in decades, if not longer. The president is a parody of the swaggering, steely-eyed gunfighter; the vice president is the tightlipped CEO who kills small birds for fun; the attorney general is the moralizing preacher, lecturing his flock on what's good for them -- or else. The public, living in fear of the terrorist threat, has accepted this return to Big Daddy government. And the Democrats, living in fear themselves, have responded by beefing up their own testosterone levels. That has been part of the appeal of John Kerry, an authentic war hero who not only radiates the manly qualities associated with "presidentialness" but also dresses up in leather and rides a Harley, plays hockey with professionals, and owns a gun. Jim Jordan, Kerry's former campaign manager, was quoted...

Mothers Most Vulnerable

For some time I've tried to convince anyone who will listen that mothers -- including those who are educated and middle class -- are the most financially vulnerable people in the United States. Mothers of all races and income levels are less secure economically than comparable men or childless women, to such an extent that being a mother has become the single biggest risk factor for poverty. Now along comes a book that confirms this view. In The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Their Families Are Going Broke , co-authors Elizabeth Warren of Harvard Law School and her daughter Amelia Warren Tyagi, co-founder of the for-profit health-services company HealthAllies, argue that "having a child is now the single best predictor that a woman will end up in financial collapse." In 1981, about 69,000 women filed for bankruptcy. Twenty years later, that figure had jumped 732 percent to nearly 500,000 women, many of them married. Warren and Tyagi discovered that mothers are 35...

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