Of Woman Born

OfWoman Born

Thebook by Adrienne Rich represents the changes in the lives of womenthat were experienced during the 1970s. This historical perioddepicted in this book is the second wave of feminism, whichencompassed the quest for equal rights by feminists who agitated forgender equity. Drawing from research, history, as well as personalexperiences in her life, Adrienne has described the events that tookplace during the 1970s and how these events are related to theattainment of equal rights by women. Being a woman, Adrienne, thewriter of the book, felt that women should not be subjected to anysuffering by women. Rather, they ought to be recognized as members ofthe society whose contribution to societal development wassignificant (Rich 3).

Adriennehas explored the issue of motherhood in a broader context she hashighlighted how the society views motherhood as an institution. Thishas led to the imposition of regulations, as well as rules, whichguide the conduct of mothers. With the institutionalization ofmotherhood, the maternal instinct of the female gender has overcameintelligence. Consequently, the self-realization of women has beenhindered immensely since they are required to subscribe to the normsof acceptable behavior as laid down by the society. Adrienne seems tocriticize the notion of children legitimacy whereby the presence of aman’s name is used as the basis of determining whether or notchildren are legal (Rich 5). From the above argument, the societydoes not acknowledge the institution of motherhood as it does to thatof fatherhood. One can probably argue that, since women are held upby issues of motherhood, they are less likely to find time toparticipate in meaningful activities in the society.

Inthe 1970s, the second wave of feminism brought to light issues thataffected women. Women’s rights were limited and they were notproperly supported by their husbands women were also not able to ownproperty, and the representation of women in the workplace was low.Most workers working in formal organizations were men and women werefew and they occupied subordinate positions. Moreover, gettingdivorce for women was not possible and this implied that they had tobe subjected to suffering marriages where violence was the norm. Thefeminist movement in the 1970s ensured that women could gain equalrepresentation like men in the workplace, as well as get properremuneration for the work they did. In addition, the movementempowered women to attend school and gain higher education as thiswould increase their chances of getting jobs that were well paid.

Inthe book, Adrienne has also focused on the issue of reproductivehealth, which dominated the American rights movement during the1970s. Women wanted to get the right to access reproductive healthbenefits such as the use of contraceptives. Through contraceptiveuse, women could plan their families and determine the number ofchildren to have. The women rights movement during this period alsoaimed at dismantling patriarchy and creating worldwide awarenessabout the importance of educating the girl-child. The feminists wholed these movements objected to the fact that women were seen aremere sexual objects whose major roles included childbirth and takingcare of the children. The confinement of women to domestic roleselicited endless debates, which called for inclusion of women inmatters of national importance such as political leadership.


Rich,Adrienne. OfWoman Born.New York: W.W. Norton, 1986. Print.