The consequences of a sexually repressive, paternalistic, conservative society:
The problem was that all the parties were kept apart from one another, and it was a paternalistic system that told these women, "We know what's best for you."
Was there an element of social engineering at work? Were the women seen as less capable of parenting because they had already disgraced their families?
Definitely. The message from social workers was that the baby would be so much better off with an adoptive family than with the surrendering mother because she was already a screw-up -- she'd gotten pregnant, she wasn't married, so how good a mother could she be?And if you look at the world in general, outside the U.S., it's quite clear that both sexually and politically women still do not have equal say or power. Look at the Supreme Court right now. We don't know yet what effect their decisions will have on the country, but just the imbalance of representation indicates that on some level we still value men's opinions more, or believe that men can make more rational decisions. So if nothing else, I hope that by uncovering this hidden little part of women's history, I can help build a bridge between two generations, and to show young people today the importance of having a voice, of being participants in their own lives.