Opting Back In
What Really Happens When Mothers Go Back to Work
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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.
Praise For Opting Back In: What Really Happens When Mothers Go Back to Work…
"Provides vital insights into the processes and consequences of career interruption for professional women who take time out for motherhood."
— Gender and Society
"This book is richly descriptive and analytically subtle as it illuminates the social class dynamics among the privileged women interviewed."
— American Journal of Sociology
University of California Press, 9780520290822, 264pp.
Publication Date: February 23, 2021
About the Author
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.