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Opting Out?: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home Paperback – June 2, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A highly worthwhile book."--"American Journal of Sociology / Ajs"
Top Customer Reviews
Readers should be aware that the author, by her own admission (p. 15 of the book), focused on white married women with children and that these women had previously worked as managers or professionals. If you don't fall into that group, this book may not appeal to you. These women, for the most part, also had husbands who could support their decision to stay home.In short, these women often had expensive college degrees and were high achievers.
Stone also points out that women who tend to "opt out" are the exception, not the rule, citing studies that indicate that 70 percent of the women who are married mothers of preschoolers still continue to work. Turn this figure around and the reality is that one out of every four women DOES decide to stay home. This book is an exploration of these particular women and it is written in what I found to be a very nonjudgmental and open style.
The author was also able to get some company heads to admit their mixed feelings about mothers in the workplace, their fears about them being less committed to their jobs or more likely to quit.
Other areas covered in this book include:
Most women quit only as a last resort (p. 18)
Each woman's story was unique, often complex and with many factors.
There was often ambivalence and a shifting of roles within the home
Their decision did NOT signal a return to traditionalism (p. 19).Read more ›
Her results are more nuanced than the "did we jump or were we pushed out?" sound bites you'll hear so often, even used to summarize this book. "Opting Out?" covers the private joys and difficulties of this path, the workforce pushes and family pulls, and the larger societal changes that need to happen to accommodate the needs of working parents. By telling the stories of women who have experienced the trade-offs of career off-ramping, "Opting Out?" presents a full picture with empathy and without blaming, shaming or sentimentalizing the mothers who participated in the study.
Stone presents a brilliant analysis that deconstructs the idea of "choice" while acknowledging that women want to be agents in their own lives. In other words, she understands the limitations of "choice," since women are choosing within a constrained social framework, but she also understands why women want to stand by the interpretation that they have individually chosen their life paths, even as they are reacting to a larger social system.
I had many a-ha moments in reading "Opting Out?" and Stone's findings have made a difference in my own thinking. Finally, here is an illuminating book that is grounded in solid research and avoids the sting of the culture wars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
After reading Lean In, I wanted to read a book with the opposite perspective. While I enjoyed this book, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. It read like a research paper. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Ren
I absolutely loved this book. It is powerful, it is thought-provoking and it is therapeutic. Wonderfully written, it describes the joys and challenges of successful professionals... Read morePublished on December 3, 2013 by anna_r
I used this book for my sociology of gender class to review. It was really interesting to read about former career women who had "opted out" of their careers to be mothers.Published on March 4, 2011 by B. Seddon
This books goes in circles - how many ways can you say the same thing over and over again. Could have been interesting if the research reached more horizons, but.....NO. Read morePublished on August 9, 2008 by Catherine R. Green
Pamela Stone's examination of the issues and complexities of making the decision to leave a career, or at least to take a multi year career break, is spot on. Read morePublished on August 2, 2008 by Carol Fishman Cohen, co-founder iRelaunch.com
This book was great. I would recommend this book to any women thinking about starting a family or anyone concerned with the shortage of women in corporate world. Read morePublished on April 29, 2008 by Wünderbar Mutti
Beautifully written,this book tells compelling stories of real lives, while exposing the often hidden factors that force women to make tough choices between caring for their... Read morePublished on March 1, 2008 by Barbara C. Hewson
Women are torn in a way men are not in this intensely personal profile of females in the workplace. Read morePublished on October 2, 2007 by B. Alton