The author draws upon stories from her own life and from the lives of many others to illustrate conditions for most working women. Her intent is to support women in responding actively to instances of personal, professional, and structural sexism. Assertive action is difficult for most women, whose upbringing typically dictates a ``nice girl'' attitude of passivity, acceptance, and accommodation to others. For women to act in ways that make them feel good about what they do is, however, essential in improving their work lives. Agonito touches briefly on a wide range of topics, from sexual harassment to the gender gap in communication. While her perspective is informed by her background in academe as a professor of philosophy and director of women's studies, her approach throughout is highly practical, with many examples of nonconfrontational but effective ways to deal with incidents that are all too common.-- Nancy Magnuson, Goucher Coll. Lib., Baltimore
Agonito's concise collection of information and advice translates the abstractions of feminism into practical suggestions. She gives pointed attention to the barriers women themselves create, stressing the legitimacy of seeking and using power. Emphasizing the need to act, she proposes ways to deal with sexual harassment, power plays, and internal aimlessness and passivity. While her stories of other women's workplace problems are standard fare, she gains depth by touching on her own growth, beginning with her Italian immigrant mother's example and including her own uneven progress from a beauty contestant through marriage, children, the women's movement, and a career. Her criticism of poorly considered decisions about motherhood, of the restrictions religion imposes, and of passive individual behaviors is sharp and articulate.