The Double Burden: Three Generations of Working Mothers

Three families, three generations of mothers who work outside the home
Year Released
Film Length(s)
56 mins
Remote video URL


What is it like to grow up in a family where mothers have always worked outside the home? The Double Burden vividly portrays the lives of three families--one Mexican-American, one Polish-American, and one African-American--each with three generations of women who worked outside the home while also raising families. The film instills tremendous respect for the accomplishments of women and for women of different races, social classes and life-styles.

Featured review

A brilliant, exquisitely crafted work.
Martha Minow
Morgan and Helen Chu Dean & Professor of Law, Harvard Law School


When filmmaker Marlene Booth became a working mother, she searched for families for whom working outside the home while raising children was a way of life. She found three families--one Mexican-American, one Polish-American, and one African-American--who had labored as migrant workers, sharecroppers, waitresses, nurse's aides, secretaries, and teachers. The Double Burden celebrates these women as they tell for the first time their stories of love, labor, sacrifice, and tremendous pride.


Through a series of portraits that reach across different class, ethnic and generational experiences, this film speaks eloquently to the diversity of pains and pleasures of working motherhood.
Afsaneh Najmabadi
Francis Lee Higginson Professor of History & of Studies of Women, Gender, & Sexuality, Harvard University
The Double Burden will certainly stimulate lively classroom discussion. It is a perfect length and terrific for courses on the family, on women, and on racial and ethnic diversity.
Deborah Belle
Professor of Psychology, Boston University
Working mothers are the subject of filmmaker Marlene Booth's interesting multi-generational look at women who found ways to balance their need (and often desire) to work with the responsibilities of being a mother. As a working mother, herself, filmmaker Booth recalls reading horrendous comments in child-raising books about young children separated from their mothers who would turn to "delinquency, deviant behavior, and crime." Rubbish, to be sure, but disturbing to a young mother in a society that somewhat encourages guilt over sending children to day care. A loving look at working women, The Double Burden: Three Generations of Working Mothers is highly recommended.
Randy Pitman
Randy Pitman

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