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Damaske, Sarah
For the family? : how class and gender shape women's work / Sarah Damaske
Alternate Title How class and gender shape women's work
New York : Oxford University Press, c2011
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 3rd Floor  HD6095 .D36 2011    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) Women -- Economic aspects -- Employment -- United States
Social classes -- United States -- Economic aspects
Women -- United States -- Economic conditions
Women -- United States -- Social conditions
Work and family -- United States
Physical Description xiii, 228 p. : ill. ; 25 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. [181]-213) and index
Contents The need and choice myths -- Expectations about Work. The shape of women's work pathways ; A "major career woman" : how women develop early expectations about work -- Work Pathways. Working steadily: good work and family support across classes ; Pulling back: divergent routes to similar pathways ; A life interrupted: cumulative disadvantages disrupt plans -- Negotiating Expectations. For the family: how women account for work decisions ; Having it all: egalitarian dreams deferred
Summary 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 this volume, 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 author 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 author provides a far more nuanced and richer picture of women, work, and class than conventional wisdom offers

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