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9 Pages

Gender Neutrality—An Oxymoron?

These fundamental frameworks last a long time because they are familiar and comfortable. After a while, they take on a patina of eternal truth: It’s the way things are and always have been. Fifty years ago, the women-andwork policy community clung to the fundamental assumption that motherhood made women as workers categorically different from men. They needed special help to improve their lot and to make them better mothers. This framework was institutionalized in government, expressed in state protective laws, and given constitutional authority by the Supreme Court. Generations of political actors had accepted the assumption without question.