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'Home Ec' For All21:58
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A home economics class at the Henry L. Pierce School in Dorchester, MA, 1893. (Credit: Boston Public Library)
A home economics class at the Henry L. Pierce School in Dorchester, MA, 1893. (Credit: Boston Public Library)

In 1972, a well known feminist named Robin Morgan addressed the Home Economics Association, accusing it of producing "a limp, jibbering mass of jelly waiting for marriage." Back then, home economics classes — which taught girls and young women to cook, sew and run a household while their husbands were busy in the office — were seen as wildly out of step with the principals of gender equality.

Fast forward to 2013: "home ec" classes are gone. But almost a third of Americans under 19 are over-weight or obese, and many don't know the basics of nutrition or how to shop for and cook a healthy meal. They are in debt and unable to balance a checkbook, let alone negotiate the complexities of credit cards and student loans. Some say it's time to bring back home ec to benefit both women and men.

Guests

Ruth Graham, contributor to The Boston Globe's Ideas section and author of the recent piece "Bring Back Home Ec!"

Alice Lichtenstein, professor of nutrition science and policy at Tufts University.

This segment aired on October 28, 2013.

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