By most any measure of success, the Eighties were a very good decade for American women. Their earnings relative to men continued to rise; indeed, women made more economic progress during the last decade than during the entire postwar period before that. Women now earn more bachelor’s and master’s degrees than men and continue to increase their share of doctorates. They have broken down virtually all barriers to the professions and business. Far from being a disability, their gender has become an unbeatable qualification. Women are eagerly sought after for membership on corporate boards, for college presidencies, and for political appointments. In Congress, their voice possesses a moral authority that sends terror into the hearts of potential opponents. And regarding marriage, childbirth, and personal morality, American women enjoy a freedom that remains the envy of the world.

This is not, however, the picture that...