Taking a career break is a conflicted and risky decision for high-achieving professional women. Yet many do so, usually planning, even as they quit, to return to work eventually. But can they? And if so, how? In Opting Back In, Pamela Stone and Meg Lovejoy revisit women first interviewed a decade earlier in Stone's book Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home to answer these questions. In frank and intimate accounts, women lay bare the dilemmas they face upon reentry. Most succeed but not by returning to their former high-paying, still family-inhospitable jobs. Instead, women strike out in new directions, finding personally gratifying but lower-paid jobs in the gig economy or predominantly female nonprofit sector. Opting Back In uncovers a paradox of privilege by which the very women best positioned to achieve leadership and close gender gaps use strategies to resume their careers that inadvertently reinforce gender inequality. The authors advocate gender equitable policies that will allow women-and all parents-to combine the intense demands of work and family life in the twenty-first century.
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Pamela Stone is Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York. She is the author of Opting Out?: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home.
Meg Lovejoy, PhD, is a sociologist and Research Program Director for the Workplace and Well-being Initiative at the Harvard Center for Population and Development. Lovejoy was a lead researcher for Opting Out?: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home.
List of Illustrations
1. Great Expectations
2. The Siren Call of Privileged Domesticity
3. Putting Family First: The Slow Return
4. Career Relaunch: Heeding the Call
5. Questing and Reinvention
6. The Big Picture
7. The Paradox of Privilege and Beyond
Appendix. Study Methodology
"Provides vital insights into the processes and consequences of career interruption for professional women who take time out for motherhood." * Gender and Society *
Newbooks Subjects & Qualifier
Dewey Decimal Classfication (DDC)