Glass Ceilings and 100-Hour Couples: What the Opt-Out Phenomenon Can Teach Us about Work and Family
When significant numbers of college-educated American women began, in the early twenty-first century, to leave paid work to become stay-at-home mothers, an emotionally charged national debate erupted. Karine Moe and Dianna Shandy, a professional economist and an anthropologist, respectively, decided to step back from the sometimes overheated rhetoric around the so-called mommy wars. They wondered what really inspired women to opt out, and they wanted to gauge the phenomenon's genuine repercussions. Glass Ceilings and 100-Hour Couples is the fruit of their investigation--a rigorous, accessible, and sympathetic reckoning with this hot-button issue in contemporary life.
Drawing on hundreds of interviews from around the country, original survey research, and national labor force data, Moe and Shandy refocus the discussion of women who opt out from one where they are the object of scrutiny to one where their aspirations and struggles tell us about the far broader swath of American women who continue to juggle paid work and family. Moe and Shandy examine the many pressures that influence a woman's decision to resign, reduce, or reorient her career. These include the mismatch between child-care options and workplace demands, the fact that these women married men with demanding careers, the professionalization of stay-at-home motherhood, and broad failures in public policy. But Moe and Shandy are equally attentive to the resilience of women in the face of life decisions that might otherwise threaten their sense of self-worth. Moe and Shandy find, for instance, that women who have downsized their careers stress the value of social networks--of "running with a pack of smart women" who've also chosen to emphasize motherhood over paid work.
Perfect Book for All the (Formerly) High-Powered Moms on Your Block!
By J. Minor - November 2, 2009
Do you feel crazy to have left your high-powered career once you had kids? This book helps explain why it felt necessary and lets you know that you're definitely not alone. I was nodding my head on every page as the authors discussed the challenge of finding high quality childcare and the guilt of insufficient "mama time". It was also thought provoking to consider the perils of divorce for stay-home moms who have limited their earnings power by getting off the fast track and the need for adequate disability and life insurance when your family's finances rely on just dad. Finally, the authors offer a few ideas about how to maintain your connections and skills so you can eventually re-enter the workforce and find that elusive work-family balance. This is a compelling book that I've recommended to all the moms in my playgroup and beyond. The book lets us know, we're in it together!
Wonderful for Young Professional Women Struggling to Prepare and Understand Work-life Balance after having children!
By K. Vogt - December 23, 2012
I am a 3rd year law student ready to make the jump into the professional world. I've always tried to figure out my plan, for after I have kids and understand how that part of my life will mesh with my professional career.
With those questions in mind, I've really enjoyed reading this book. It talks about the struggles for women (and men) in the world today. Do you give up your job to take care of the kids? Do you go part time? Can your family afford to live on one income? All sorts of questions and studies are discussed in this book about professional women (and men) and dealing with work-life balance. It talks about alternatives to just quitting your job after you have your first child, and little tricks to keep in mind while living in a profession dominated by men. It gives statistics on your potential earning capacity when you take up to 3 years off from your professional job, and explores the statistics of professional women who take time off and the difficulties in... read more
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