Glass Ceilings and 100-Hour Couples: What the Opt-Out Phenomenon Can Teach Us about Work and Family

Overview

When significant numbers of college-educated American women began, in the early twenty-first century, to leave paid work to become stay-at-home mothers, an emotionally charged national debate erupted. Karine Moe and Dianna Shandy, a professional economist and an anthropologist, respectively, decided to step back from the sometimes overheated rhetoric around the so-called mommy wars. They wondered what really inspired women to opt out, and they wanted to gauge the phenomenon’s genuine repercussions. Glass Ceilings...

See more details below
Paperback
$16.76
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$20.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (15) from $3.88   
  • New (6) from $14.29   
  • Used (9) from $3.88   
Sending request ...

Overview

When significant numbers of college-educated American women began, in the early twenty-first century, to leave paid work to become stay-at-home mothers, an emotionally charged national debate erupted. Karine Moe and Dianna Shandy, a professional economist and an anthropologist, respectively, decided to step back from the sometimes overheated rhetoric around the so-called mommy wars. They wondered what really inspired women to opt out, and they wanted to gauge the phenomenon’s genuine repercussions. Glass Ceilings and 100-Hour Couples is the fruit of their investigation—a rigorous, accessible, and sympathetic reckoning with this hot-button issue in contemporary life.

Drawing on hundreds of interviews from around the country, original survey research, and national labor force data, Moe and Shandy refocus the discussion of women who opt out from one where they are the object of scrutiny to one where their aspirations and struggles tell us about the far broader swath of American women who continue to juggle paid work and family. Moe and Shandy examine the many pressures that influence a woman’s decision to resign, reduce, or reorient her career. These include the mismatch between child-care options and workplace demands, the fact that these women married men with demanding careers, the professionalization of stay-at-home motherhood, and broad failures in public policy. But Moe and Shandy are equally attentive to the resilience of women in the face of life decisions that might otherwise threaten their sense of self-worth. Moe and Shandy find, for instance, that women who have downsized their careers stress the value of social networks—of “running with a pack of smart women” who’ve also chosen to emphasize motherhood over paid work.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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-siècle 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.)
From the Publisher

"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. . . .This objective analysis provides a calmly informative, readable tool, useful for any couple considering children."—Publishers Weekly

"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."—Booklist

"Glass Ceilings and 100-Hour Couples discusses the choices that college-educated women face in balancing family and career, with a particular focus on why a significant share of well-educated women elect to leave the labor market entirely. The book is well-written and engaging reading. It has a nice combination of data and stories, showing the barriers that women continue to face in trying to be both good parents and good employees. Anyone interested in women’s changing patterns of work/family choices will find this book worth reading."—Rebecca M. Blank, author of It Takes a Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty

"This insightful and wide-ranging analysis of the work-family choices of college-educated women in America will appeal to everyone who has tried (and inevitably failed) to be both the ideal worker and the perfect parent. The authors, an economist and an anthropologist, combine current research and in-depth interviews to examine the experiences of mothers who decide to 'opt out' of the hectic life of a two-career couple, and the cultural and economic forces that shape their choices."—Shelly Lundberg, Castor Professor of Economics, University of Washington

"This provocative book raises many questions but does not stoop to providing pat answers about how couples should manage the work-family balance." —Choice magazine

"Moe and Shandy have written a comprehensive account of the many reasons behind the 'opt-out revolution.' Their engaging presentation makes for a fascinating read—one that will be of interest to anyone who feels the disconnect between the current state of work/life balance in this country, and the possibilities that exist for something so much better."—Elrena Evans, coeditor of Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life

Glass Ceilings and 100-Hour Couples is an important contribution to the literature. The book provides new insights into the labor force decisions of working mothers and will be of great use to any reader interested – academically or personally – in the debate surrounding work–life balance in the United States.”—Lucie Schmidt, Feminist Economics

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820334042
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 10/15/2009
  • Pages: 232
  • Sales rank: 838,282
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Karine Moe is a professor of economics at Macalester College. She is the editor of Women, Family, and Work: Writings on the Economics of Gender. Dianna Shandy is an associate professor of anthropology at Macalester College. She is the author of Nuer-American Passages: Globalizing Sudanese Migration.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Prologue ix

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

1 Numbers Too Big to Ignore 11

2 Why Opting Out Is an Everywoman Issue 21

3 The 100-HourCouple 35

4 Glass Ceilings and Maternal Walls 45

5 Second Shift Redux 61

6 Child Care Dilemmas 72

7 MamaTime 83

8 The Hectic Household 97

9 The Professionalization of At-Home Motherhood 114

10 Financial Costs 127

11 Negotiatingwithout a Paycheck 139

12 Reigniting the Career 149

13 Creative Strategies for Making Work "Work" 163

14 Coming of Age in America 173

Notes 183

Bibliography 197

Index 205

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Pretty Darn Good

    I took Professor Moe's class (Economics of Gender) and I have to say the book is well written and she lays out some pretty profound evidence justifying her case. The book is written for a general audience and it's very easy to follow and the facts are laid out. The real people that gave their insights into some of the issues is an amazing. It's a really great book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)