Dorothy Dinnerstein (April 4, 1923 – December 17, 1992) was an American feminist academic and activist, best known for her book The Mermaid and the Minotaur (1976), published in the UK as The Rocking of the Cradle and the Ruling of the World (1987). Using some elements of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalysis, particularly as developed by Melanie Klein, Dinnerstein argued that sexism and aggression are both inevitable consequences of childrearing's being left more or less exclusively to women; the issues intrinsic to a child's engagement with and separation from its mother, Dinnerstein thought, end up being conflated with gender relations. As a solution Dinnerstein proposed that men and women share equally in infant and child care.
^Dinnerstein, Dorothy (1987). The Rocking of the Cradle and the Ruling of the World (trade paperback) (Reprint with new introduction ed.). London: The Women's Press. p. 26 and 33–34. ISBN0-7043-4027-5. What is important is the effect of predominantly female care on the later emotional predilections of the child. The point of crucial consequences is that for virtually every living person, it is a woman—usually the mother—who has provided the main initial contact with humanity and with nature.
^Dinnerstein, Dorothy (1987). The rocking of the cradle and the ruling of the world. London: Women's Press. ISBN0-7043-4027-5.