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The Unfinished Revolution: How a New Generation Is Reshaping Family, Work, and Gender in Americaby Kathleen Gerson
Synopses & Reviews
In the controversial public debate over modern American families, the vast changes in family life--the rise of single, two-paycheck, and same-sex parents--have often been blamed for declining morality and unhappy children. Drawing upon pioneering research with the children of the gender revolution, Kathleen Gerson reveals that it is not a lack of "family values," but rigid social and economic forces that make it difficult to have a vibrant and committed family and work life.
Despite the entrance of women into the workforce and the blurring of once clearly defined gender boundaries, men and women live in a world where the demands of balancing parenting and work, autonomy and commitment, time and money are left largely unresolved. Gerson finds that while an overwhelming majority of young men and women see an egalitarian balance within committed relationships as the ideal, today's social and economic realities remain based on conventional--and now obsolete--distinctions between breadwinning and caretaking. In this equity vacuum, men and women develop conflicting strategies, with women stressing self-reliance and men seeking a new traditionalism.
With compassion for all perspectives, Gerson argues that whether one decides to give in to traditionally imbalanced relationships or to avoid marriage altogether, these approaches are second-best responses, not personal preferences or inherent attributes, and they will shift if new options can be created to help people achieve their egalitarian aspirations. The Unfinished Revolution offers clear recommendations for the kinds of workplace and community changes that would best bring about a more egalitarian family life--a new flexibility at work and at home that benefits families, encourages a thriving economy, and helps women and men integrate love and work.
Praise for the Hardcover:
"Over the past three decades, social change has blown apart the old-fashioned ideal of the nuclear family--and Gerson has set out to map where the pieces have landed."
--New York Post
"Valuable for the abundance and candor of the testimony from this unmoored generation pioneering through radically altered conceptions of personal and professional life."
"This is not a battle that can be won with legal challenges or legislation. Yes, it would undoubtedly be greatly aided by the passage of major social policies such as universal child care. But at its core, this is a fight that plays out within homes and between partners. And as Gerson's research makes clear, the fight has not changed all that dramatically in the past 30 years." --The American Prospect
About the Author
Kathleen Gerson is Professor of Sociology and Collegiate Professor of Arts and Science at New York University. The author of No Man's Land: Men's Changing Commitments to Family and Work and Hard Choices: How Women Decide about Work, Career, and Motherhood, she frequently contributes to such media as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, and CNN.
Table of Contents
1. The Shaping of a New Generation
Part One: Growing Up in Changing Families
2. Families beyond the Stereotypes
3. The Rising Fortunes of Flexible Families
4. Domestic Deadlocks and Declining Fortunes
Part Two: Facing the Future
5. High Hope, Lurking Fears
6. Women's Search for Self-Reliance
7. Men's Resistance to Equal Sharing
8. Reaching across the Gender Divide
9. Finishing the Gender Revolution
Appendix 1: List of Respondents and Sample Demographics
Appendix 2: Studying Social and Individual Change
What Our Readers Are Saying
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