Barbara Ehrenreich Biography, Life, Interesting Facts


Barbara Ehrenreich

Birthday :

August 26, 1941

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Birth Place :

Butte, Montana, United States of America

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Barbara Ehrenreich was born on August 26, 1941, in Butte, Montana, USA. Her parents were Isabelle (Oxley) and Benjamin Howes Alexander. She also had two siblings: Benjamin Jr. and Diane.


As a young adult, Barbara Ehrenreich attended Reed College. Here, she studied several types of science, including physics and chemistry. 

She later graduated from this school in 1963. After this, she enrolled in Rockefeller University. Here, Barbara Ehrenreich continued her studies in physics and also took up studying biology. She graduated from this school with a Ph.D. in 1968. It was also while in school that she married, taking on the surname Ehrenreich. She is now most well-known for having this last name.



After finishing school, Barbara Ehrenreich began working at the Bureau of the Budget and for the Health Policy Advisory Center. Here, she worked as an analyst. She also wrote for charities during this time to call attention to the health needs of the poor. While working here, she became pregnant and started to face workplace discrimination. 

Barbara Ehrenreich noticed that other women were facing similar problems, even the women who were not pregnant. Sick of the sexism in the workplace, she left her job and started working with the women’s health movement. Soon after, she became a writer.

Her first writing piece was published in 1969 by the Monthly Review Press and was called Long March, Short Spring the Student Uprising at Home and Abroad. Throughout the 1970’s, Barbara Ehrenreich continued to write various non-fiction books: The American Health Empire: Power, Profits, and Politics; Witches, Midwives, and Nurses: A History of Women Healers; and Complaints and Disorders: The Sexual Politics of Sickness.

In 1979, Barbara Ehrenreich began teaching at New York University. In the next two years, she also spent time teaching at both the University of Missouri and Sangamon State University.

In 1983, she began to focus on writing again, publishing Women in the Global Factory. For much of the 1980’s through the 1990’s, Barbara Ehrenreich spent her time writing books. These books include the following: Re-Making Love: The Feminization of Sex; The Hearts of Men: American Dreams and the Flight from Commitment; For her Own Good: 150 Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women; Worst Years of Our Lives; Kipper’s Game; and The Snarling Citizen: Essays. It should be noted that all of these books, with the exception of Kipper’s Game, were also non-fiction.

In 1998, she began working at the University of California. She worked here until 2000.

Throughout the rest of the 2000’s, Barbara Ehrenreich continued to write books. These books, along with some of her other famous works from decades before are listed below.

Global Woman: Nannies, Maids, and Sex Workers in the New Economy
Blood Rites: Origins and History of the Passions of War
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America
Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy
This Land is Their Land
Living with a Wild God


Awards And Accomplishments

Throughout her long career, Barbara Ehrenreich has won several awards, mostly for her literature. Some of her most prestigious awards are listed below.

National Magazine Award (1980)
Humanist of the Year (1998)
Sidney Hillman Award (2000)
Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship (2004)
Freedom from Want Medal (2007)

Barbara Ehrenreich has several honorary degrees coming from the following universities and colleges: Reed College, College of Wooster, John Jay College, La Trobe University, State University of New York, and UMass Lowell.


Family Life

Barbara Ehrenreich was first married to John Ehrenreich in 1966. Together, they had two children: Benjamin and Rosa. Sadly, this couple divorced in 1977. Barbara later remarried to Gary Stevenson in 1983. However, this couple divorced in 1993. Even though they are divorced, Barbara continues to use Ehrenreich as her last name.

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