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Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success Hardcover – June 2, 2009
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Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success by Claire Shipman. Collins Business,2009
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Documentation is very thin (only two books are cited in the entire book) and there are no real case studies, even of the authors' own lives; personal experiences are only sketchily evoked in vignettes. Even the authors' personal stories are very schematic; for example, Shipman talks about "my husband"  but never mentions she's been married twice. There are almost no cultural references, not even allusion to relevant ones like Max Weber or the Sabbath.
Shipman and Kay have a stunted sense of what is meaningful in life and present conventional family life (dominated by children, with husbands a ghostly presence; on the other hand, a prospective employer is called a "potential mate" ) as the only meaningful activity outside business. Sex itself is mentioned not once in the book.
Family life with children is the only possible alternative to business activity -- the life of the mind, art, even politics are never mentioned, and religion, too, is absent. In fact, only two institutions are acknowledged to exist in the world of Womenomics: the corporation and the family.
The authors do an excellent job of painting a coming revolution in the idea of the "workplace," seeing a future revisioning of work that is "results only"--that is, you are paid for the results you produce, and not where or when or how you produce those results. I think this workplace revolution may indeed be in the offing, and ties in with larger goals of reducing gas consumption in commuting, problems with traffic congestion, office energy use overhead, etc. This vision was useful to see in print. What if work was something you could combine with family life, in a way that family did not suffer? That is a vision worth having.
Also, the authors do provide some very specific advice, which sets it above other books that only paint the picture and do not tell you how to do the same yourself.
Probably the biggest weakness, though, is that not all (and maybe not even most) jobs are the professional level ones the authors have where the person herself is valuable and results do not have to be achieved in a certain location/time. Many women are utterly replaceable, and some jobs (like Wal-Mart cashier) have to be done at a certain place and time. I am not sure this book would be very helpful to women working in such positions, and I'd like to see the authors tackle those issues. I'd recommend Joan Williams' Unbending Gender as a complementary book that readers interested in this topic should also peruse.
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