“Getting the Most Money Possible:” Women’s Responses to the Implementation of Maternity Laws, 1916–1930
This chapter demonstrates the broad effects of social policy at the local and individual level and shows how women’s responses to these effects often led to revisions in welfare policy development and implementation. Of particular focus is the laws’ encouragement of the institutionalization of birth in Norway. This legislative outcome caused feminists to start a maternity home movement to fill the need the laws created. As the women most directly affected by maternity legislation, midwives and working women negotiated the impacts the laws had on their lives in an effort to gain as much as possible professionally and personally without suffering too many consequences. The chapter examines these varied reactions to maternity legislation and contextualizes them within the history of women’s responses to welfare legislation across Europe.