Synopses & Reviews
Feminists opened up thousands of doors in the 1960s and 1970s, but decades later, are U.S. women where they thought they'd be? The answer, it turns out, is a resounding no. Surely there have been gains. Women now comprise nearly 60 percent of college undergraduates and half of all medical and law students. They have entered the workforce in record numbers, making the two-wage-earner family the norm. But combining a career and family turned out to be more complicated than expected. While women changed, social structures surrounding work and family remained static. Affordable and high-quality child care, paid family leave, and equal pay for equal work remain elusive for the vast majority of working women. In fact, the nation has fallen far behind other parts of the world on the gender-equity front. We lag behind more than seventy countries when it comes to the percentage of women holding elected federal offices. Only 17 percent of corporate boards include women members. And just 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies are led by women.It's time, says Madeleine M. Kunin, to change all that. Looking back over five decades of advocacy, she analyzes where progress stalled, looks at the successes of other countries, and charts the course for the next feminist revolution--one that mobilizes women, and men, to call for the kind of government and workplace policies that can improve the lives of women and strengthen their families.
"American feminism gets family-oriented marching orders in this data-laden call-to-arms. Vermont's first female governor, Kunin (Pearls, Politics, and Power) argues that a revolution in work-life balance is good for women, families, and even the world economy. In a genteel tone, feminists are urged to abandon 'patience, silence, politeness' in favor of anger, imagination, and optimism in a multi-pronged battle for family-focused workplace flexibility and benefits. Kunin compares U.S. work policies and attitudes with those ranging from heavily subsidized Nordic laws, to the more measured approaches of the U.K., Canada, and Australia, arguing that reform makes good business, social, and political sense. The book backs up facts with sober voices from business, politics, and education, but it is Kunin's account of her journey from 'original earth mother' to helming the Green Mountain State that crackles. This fiery septuagenarian ('I'm still angry,' she tells her friends at lunch) maintains that equity and justice for families and children, particularly those living in poverty, will keep America competitive and advance the struggle for parity between the sexes, and urges feminists to unite across generations, social classes, sexual preferences, and politics. Though Kunin's passion is obvious in her anecdotes, a heavy-handed reliance on statistics and expert opinions will likely make this book appeal more to already-active feminists than to a general audience. (May)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.