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For the Family?: How Class and Gender Shape Women's Work
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 019979149X, Paperback)In the contentious debate about women and work, conventional wisdom holds that middle-class women can decide if they work, while working-class women need to work. Yet, even after the recent economic crisis, middle-class women are more likely to work than working-class women. Sarah Damaske deflates the myth that financial needs dictate if women work, revealing that financial resources make it easier for women to remain at work and not easier to leave it. Departing from mainstream research, Damaske finds three main employment patterns: steady, pulled back, and interrupted. She discovers that middle-class women are more likely to remain steadily at work and working-class women more likely to experience multiple bouts of unemployment. She argues that the public debate is wrongly centered on need because women respond to pressure to be selfless mothers and emphasize family need as the reason for their work choices. Whether the decision is to stay home or go to work, women from all classes say work decisions are made for their families. In For the Family?, Sarah Damaske at last provides a far more nuanced and richer picture of women, work, and class than the one commonly drawn.
Winner of the 2011 National Women's Studies Association Sara Whaley Prize for best book on women and labor.
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:51 -0400)
In the emotional public debate about women and work, conventional wisdom holds that middle-class women "choose" whether or not to work, while working class "need" to work. Yet, despite the recent economic crisis, national trends show that middle-class women are more likely to work than working-class women. In thisvolume, the author debunks the myth that financial needs determine women's workforce participation, revealing that financial resources make it easier for women to remain at work, not easier to leave it. Departing from mainstream research, she finds not two (working or not working), but three main employment patterns: steady, pulled back, and interrupted. Looking at the differences between women in these three groups, she discovers that financial resources made it easier for middle-class women to remain at work steadily, while working-class women often found themselves following interrupted work pathways in which they experienced multiple bouts of unemployment. While most of the national attention has been focused on women who leave work, she shows that both middle-class and working-class women found themselves pulling back from work, but for vastly different reasons. This book concludes that the public debate about women's work remains focused on need because women themselves emphasize the importance of family needs in their decision-making. The auhtor argues that despite differences in work experiences, class, race, and familial support, most women explained their work decisions by pointing to family needs, connecting work to family rather than an individual pursuit. At last the auhtor provides a far more nuanced and richer picture of women, work, and class than conventional wisdom offers.
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