When Pat Schroeder went to Congress in 1973, there were no women in the Senate, few in the House of Representatives, and none except herself with very young children. Although admittedly aided by a supportive husband, and relatively free of financial worries, Congresswoman Schroeder still found herself faced with the usual working-mother problems of making reliable child-care arrangements and creating a healthy home environment while fulfilling the responsibilities of a highly demanding job. As one of the few women in Congress, she heard often from working mothers and young parents all over the country who felt she could better understand and represent their concerns than their own well-entrenched congressmen.
Drawing on her daily experiences as wife, mother, and professional woman, Schroeder has sought to eliminate anachronistic laws and draft new legislation that reflects the needs of America’s young families. In a rapidly changing social and economic climate, families with two working parents have become the rule rather than the exception, yet the government’s record in supporting safe, affordable child care, salary equity for working women, parental leave, and nondiscriminatory social security and pension plans is far from salutary.
In a book which is part autobiography and part politics, Schroeder writes about the personal origins of her drive for a national family policy and the political forces which have affected her progress in achieving this goal. CHAMPION OF THE GREAT AMERICAN FAMILY leaves the reader impressed with the intelligence, skill, and sensitivity of Pat Schroeder and concerned about the slow progress Congress has made in recognizing and effectively addressing complex issues facing the American family.