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Glass ceilings and 100-hour couples : what the opt-out phenomenon can teach us about work and family /

Main Author: Moe, Karine S.
Other Authors: Shandy, Dianna J.
Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Athens : University of Georgia Press, 2010
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Review by Choice Review

In a rare academic collaboration, economist Moe and anthropologist Shandy investigate the phenomenon of dual-career couples and their decision, in many cases, that one person (generally the woman) will leave a high-powered career to concentrate on the family. The authors aptly document the many facets of this pattern, including the decision-making paths that couples take; the tradeoffs between income and time, home and work; and the potential negative repercussions of the decision, particularly if one spouse dies or the couple divorces. Numerous economic concepts are illustrated gently and motivated clearly with multiple examples, including the renegotiation over household decision making that occurs when roles change (which brings up the interesting idea of formal postnuptial contracts) and the effects on the women's investments in career-related skills. The study is well documented and features a balanced blend of national-level statistics and excerpts from author-collected interviews. This reviewer has concerns about the representativeness of the interviews for US patterns overall, given that they focus on families in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, often with a personal link to the Macalester College community. Overall, though, this provocative book raises many questions but does not stoop to providing pat answers about how couples should manage the work-family balance. Summing Up: Recommended. Public and academic collections, lower-division undergraduate and up. J. P. Jacobsen Wesleyan University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.
Review by Booklist Review

An economist and an anthropologist teamed up to conduct hundreds of interviews for this insightful analysis of the ramifications of stepping off the career track to focus on motherhood. The authors bolster their conclusions with a dazzling (and sometimes daunting) collection of statistics as well as thorough end notes and an impressive bibliography. Their scholarship is balanced by numerous personal stories that elevate the study beyond the miasma of the mommy wars and into the pragmatic decisions facing couples who must conduct heavy-duty cost analyses (not to mention emotional scrutiny) to decide who should work and who should stay home. The answer, for financial and social reasons, is usually the mother, but that doesn't make it any easier. Most interesting is the look at nonworking women and the tiring personal schedules they maintain to keep the family going as husbands often work longer hours. Although none of this is particularly new, Moe and Shandy's hard-soft approach is engaging as they illuminate the state of twenty-first-century feminism as women juggle work and family.--Mondor, Colleen Copyright 2009 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Over the past 15 years, many highly educated, middle-class women have-whether by inclination or necessity-traded their 50-plus-hour workweeks and considerable paychecks to stay home with their children and enjoy a "saner, less hectic life." Economist Moe and anthropologist Shandy, both of Macalester College, dispassionately dissect the statistics and motivations behind "opting out" to determine whether this recent, still narrow trend denotes a "bellwether," a "fin-de-siecle folly" or just a blip on the cultural radar. The authors also demonstrate how these women differ from the 1950s housewife stereotype. Liberally used economic statistics describe financial sacrifices, potential marital shifts in power and ways to avoid the automatic social invisibility conferred on stay-at-home mothers, while well-placed anecdotes from study subjects weigh flexibility and quality of life for family members. There's no discussion of how recession-proof this trend will be, but this objective analysis provides a calmly informative, readable tool, useful for any couple considering children. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved