“With Opting In, Amy Richards does an impressive job of showing just how many ways there are for modern women to make motherhood work for them. Richards powerfully reminds us that although these are seemingly isolated "domestic" negotiations, women open up the work-life balance not only for other women, but for men and for generations of young people to come.” Veronica Chambers, author of Having It All? Black Women and Success
“Opting In is a brave, rational, thoughtful book chock full of important information and ideas that every woman--married or not, mother or not--should make it her business to know and think about.” Cathi Hanauer, editor of The Bitch in the House
“To a world that either obsesses over children or excludes them, Amy Richards brings the revolutionary possibilities of shared intergenerational lives--not easy, mind you, but possible. If her example and writing had been around earlier, even I might have had children.” Gloria Steinem
“Amy Richards is always showing a new way forward for her generation of feminists and has done so once again with Opting In--a smart, savvy exploration of real-life, real-time motherhood that is sure to resonate.” Naomi Wolf
“Amy Richards is one of the few women in the country who can talk about the politics of mothering in a way that doesn't make me bored or irate. Opting In is intellectually rigorous, personally authentic, insightful, and brave--and frankly, how often can you say that about books on this subject? Richards is remarkably honest and thought-provoking, and her ideas stay with you long after you've put the book down. Read Opting In and challenge yourself about what you think and the decisions you're making, then talk about it not only with other women but with the men in your life as well.” Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees & Wannabees
“A movingly written book, Opting in: Having a Child without Losing Yourself beautifully dissects the feminist relationship to motherhood, creating a framework for modern career women to embrace motherhood while maintaining their aspirations and ambitions.” Sylvia Ann Hewlett
“In Amy Richards's insightful OPTING IN, knotty twentieth-century feminist debates about family, sex, and motherhood are reexamined through sharp twenty-first century eyes. This informative book is always reasonable, readable, and refreshingly open-minded.” Alix Kates Shulman
“Richards ... makes a convincing case for the necessity of living our politics if we want to see change... welcome advice.” Rachel Fudge, Mother Jones
In this spirited response to the controversial 2004 New York Times Magazine's cover story "The Opt-Out Revolution" claiming that America's most educated women are choosing motherhood over careers, feminist activist Richards (coauthor, Grassroots) reminds readers of the real strides the women's movement has made in allowing women to choose and juggle both. The initial uneasiness in reconciling motherhood with feminism (e.g., dependence vs. independence) has largely been eclipsed, notes Richards, despite the misleading headlines. From diaper-changing stations in both men's and women's restrooms to the Family and Medical Leave Act, flextime and on-site childcare in the workplace, "feminism's investment in parenting is undeniable," she writes. Her work incorporates her own experience raising two sons with her unmarried partner while maintaining an important identity in women's causes such as cofounder of the Third Wave Foundation and Soapbox. Scrolling through solid feminist history, she cogently examines issues involving mothers such as "to work or not to work"; the mania over one's "biological clock"; nonsexist child-rearing; balancing household work; and nurturing friendships with women and one's own mother. Overall, Richards strongly urges women to educate themselves about the achievements of the first waves of feminists and to advocate actively in their community for self-worth and dignity for all. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Cofounder of Soapbox, a feminist speakers' bureau, Richards (coauthor, Grassroots) here recounts how she is finding her way as a feminist mother in 21st-century America. As a sidelines feminist, likely a contemporary of the author's mother, this reviewer finds Richards's perspective especially interesting. Throughout, she raises questions about and makes excellent arguments relating to the career-motherhood balance. The book's crux is that, as a result of the feminist movement, women today have an abundance of choices available to them; therein lies the problem: how to choose without feeling guilty about one's choice, without questioning one's own instinct, without becoming overly concerned about hurting others' feelings. Though the introduction's reference to Centers for Disease Control birthrate statistics could be clearer, this work contains first-rate resources and notes from the popular press. Modern women of all ages will be drawn into Richards's mix of memoir and feminist analysis; a perfect candidate for book clubs.