Book Reviews: Celebrating International Women’s Day

Today on March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day, in recognition of women’s achievements throughout history and across nations.  And at the same time, the entire month of March is dedicated to women’s history, 31 days when we celebrate women of character, courage and commitment. ( Cynics may say that these days in March are to compensate for overlooking the achievements by women.  But optimists may observe that opportunities for women are improving and attitudes about women are changing worldwide. Today, International Women’s Day, these three books are dedicated to Fuqua women who are making work-life decisions about their futures.

xx-factorThe XX Factor by Alison Wolf – Prior to 1970 the primary roles for working women were secretaries, nurses, teachers and librarians.  Today highly educated women routinely hold key managerial roles in Fortune 500 companies and government.  They own their own businesses and are widely represented in professions such as law, medicine, banking and the clergy.  Yet millions of ordinary women still work in female dominated occupations.  In The XX Factor, British professor Alison Wolf explains that women in elite occupations make different choices in daily activities and personal lives than women in traditional female occupations, who are likely to be far poorer.  In their work habits, job choices, family patterns and daily tasks, upper class women have more in common with their male professional colleagues.  Elite women are better educated and work longer hours.  They marry later, if at all. They have fewer (or no) children; they bear them later in life and return to work immediately.  Elite women spend little time on activities in the home such as cooking or laundry, and they devote their time during the evenings and on weekends to their managerial work. High earning men and women marry each other, concentrating wealth within a small elite and creating a less equal world.

dareDare by Becky Blalock – Strategy consultant and former executive of Georgia Power writes her new book for women in middle management who aspire to senior leadership at their companies.  Author Becky Blalock advises women to seek out new opportunities and to take more risks, accepting roles that are beyond their current expertise.  Most of the book is practical guidance generated from personal experience showing women how to differentiate themselves to stand out from the crowd.  She explains how to project a confident attitude and to become comfortable with ambiguity.  She encourages readers to develop relationships with others inside and outside the organization, building a support network of professional colleagues and mentors, and by becoming a mentor to others in return.

joy-nofunAll Joy and No Fun by Jennifer Senior – sells over 50,000 books on parenting, and most of them address the profound ways that parents influence their children’s intellectual, emotional, spiritual and physical lives.  But journalist Jennifer Senior’s new book is about how children affect their parents at each stage of their development.  Children strain marriages, compromise their parents’ sleep and work, and jeopardize their parents’ psychological health.  But children also bring meaning and purpose to the lives of their parents.  As parents commit to something bigger than themselves, parenthood brings strength and integrity.  While parents  admit that it is no fun to interact with their children, they also report that their children bring a heartfelt joy to their lives.

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

Leave a Reply