Barbara Ehrenreich is an American writer and political activist. Throughout her life, she has proved herself as one of the most influential journalistic voices of her generation. After completing her studies, she turned to political and anti-war activism.
She became a victim of sexist behavior during her pregnancy at a medical care facility and underwent political as well as personal transformation. Later, she got involved with the ‘women’s health movement’ and eventually decided to become a full time writer.
She worked mostly in health-related research, advocacy as well as activism and also wrote several feminist books on the history and politics of women’s health. After completing her doctorate, she served as an analyst with the Bureau of the Budget in New York City and with the Health Policy Advisory Center.
She was influenced by the anti-Vietnam war movement and started doing investigative stories for a small charitable group in New York which advocated for better health care for the city’s poor. In 1966, she married John Ehrenreich, a clinical psychologist whom she met during an anti-war activism campaign in New York City.
The couple published several books concerning health policy and labor issues together. They are blessed with two children; a daughter, Rosa, born in 1970 and a son, Ben, born in 1972. The couple got divorced in 1977.
Ehrenreich has been a columnist at the New York Times and Time magazine, a frequent contributor to Harper’s and The Nation. Ehrenreich has also written for Mother Jones, The Atlantic Monthly, Ms, The New Republic, Z Magazine, In These Times, Salon.com, and other publications.
Ehrenreich is the author of “Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War” (Metropolitan, 1997) and a collection of essays entitled “The Worst Years of Our Lives: Irreverent Notes from a Decade of Greed” (Random House Inc., 1990).
She also wrote “Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class” (Pantheon Books, 1989), which was nominated for a National Book Critics’ Award in 1989; “The Snarling Citizen” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1995); “The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment” (Anchor Books/Doubleday, 1983); “The American Health Empire: Power, Profits and Politics” (Vintage Books, 1971), with John Ehrenreich; “Witches, Midwives and Nurses: A History of Women Healers” (Feminist Press, 1972); “For Her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women” (Anchor Press, 1978), with Deirdre English; “Re-Making Love: The Feminization of Sex” (Random House Inc., 1986), with Elizabeth Hess and Gloria Jacobs; “The Mean Season: The Attack on Social Welfare” (Pantheon Books, 1987), with Frances Fox Piven, Richard Cloward, and Fred Block; and a novel, “Kipper’s Game” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1993).
She has most recently co-edited a collection of essays with Arlie Russell Hochschild called “Global Woman” (Metropolitan, 2002).
In 2004, she received the Nation Institute/Puffin Foundation Prize for Creative Citizenship, given annually to an American who challenges the status quo “through distinctive, courageous, imaginative, socially responsible work of significance.” Ehrenreich is currently an honorary co-chair of the Democratic Socialists of America.