Book Review: Opting Out

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Stone, Pamela. Opting out? : why women really quit careers and head home. University of California Press, 2007.

Author Pamela Stone conducted in-depth interviews with 54 high-achieving women, in high-status, high-knowledge professional fields, such as consulting, law, finance and medicine, who were all married to equally powerful men, and who seemingly abandoned their rewarding careers to become stay-at-home mothers.

Rather than opting out of the workplace, these women found themselves with increased responsibilities at home and with husbands who were reluctant to help them. Beyond the mandated maternity leave, these highly successful women were unable to find the flexibility they needed to continue working in an environment where 60 hour workweeks and 24/7 availability was the norm. Even in companies where family-friendly policies existed on the books, individual managers paid a critical role in making flexibility available or taking it away.

Women who were able to negotiate special favors found themselves marginalized and stigmatized. These competitive women disinvested in their careers and increased their investment in family. Author Stone concludes that women are not opting out of the workplace. They are being pushed out. Interesting read. Author Pamela Stone is Associate Professor of Sociology at Hunter College, CUNY.

© Reviewer: Meg Trauner & Ford Library РFuqua School of Business.
All rights reserved.

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