Opting Out?: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home
Noting a phenomenon that might seem to recall a previous era, The New York Times Magazine recently portrayed women who leave their careers in order to become full-time mothers as "opting out." But, are high-achieving professional women really choosing to abandon their careers in order to return home? This provocative study is the first to tackle this issue from the perspective of the women themselves. Based on a series of candid, in-depth interviews with women who returned home after working as doctors, lawyers, bankers, scientists, and other professions, Pamela Stone explores the role that their husbands, children, and coworkers play in their decision; how women’s efforts to construct new lives and new identities unfold once they are home; and where their aspirations and plans for the future lie. What we learn—contrary to many media perceptions—is that these high-flying women are not opting out but are instead being pushed out of the workplace. Drawing on their experiences, Stone outlines concrete ideas for redesigning workplaces to make it easier for women—and men—to attain their goal of living rewarding lives that combine both families and careers.
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activities AstraZeneca at-home mothers au pairs baby boss business school careers caregiving challenges chapter childcare choice gap cultural daughter decision to quit demands described Diane Childs domestic double bind Dream Team earnings Elizabeth Brand Emily Mitchell employers especially executive experience false consciousness feel felt feminism firm flexibility full-time gender going graduate high-achieving women household division husbands intensive mothering interviews Ivy League Kate kids kind labor force lawyer leave lives Lynn Hamilton Maeve major management consultant marketing ment motherhood number of women older options parenting part-time Patricia Lambert percent pregnant profes professional identity professions public Ivies realized reasons for quitting sense stay home stay-at-home mother Stephanie Spano talked telecommuting things tion transition typically Vivian volunteer Wendy Friedman Wendy's wives woman women I studied women's decisions work-family work-life workforce workplace