Through a review of professional publications, this article discusses U.S. social workers' increasing acceptance of maternal employment in the early cold war years from 1946 to 1963. American social work's shifting stance on women's employment constituted a response to both liberalizing gender relations and the backlash against the Aid to Dependent Children program. The mid-twentieth century was an important, though contested, period for the profession's maternalist philosophy, as social workers continued to prioritize maternal identities, but increasingly acknowledged women's autonomy. Influenced by popular psychotherapeutic rhetoric and by liberal feminism, American social work's revised maternalism was multifaceted, yet it generally excluded the socio-structural and state building impulses of its progressive era predecessor and failed to take into account racial and socioeconomic differences among women.


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pp. 112-136
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