For the Family?: How Class and Gender Shape Womens Work

Paperback | October 18, 2011

bySarah Damaske

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In the contentious debate about women and work, conventional wisdom holds that middle-class women can decide if they work, while working-class women need to work. Yet, even after the recent economic crisis, middle-class women are more likely to work than working-class women. Sarah Damaskedeflates the myth that financial needs dictate if women work, revealing that financial resources make it easier for women to remain at work and not easier to leave it. Departing from mainstream research, Damaske finds three main employment patterns: steady, pulled back, and interrupted. She discovers that middle-class women are more likely to remain steadily at work and working-class women more likely to experience multiple bouts of unemployment. She argues thatthe public debate is wrongly centered on need because women respond to pressure to be selfless mothers and emphasize family need as the reason for their work choices. Whether the decision is to stay home or go to work, women from all classes say work decisions are made for their families. In For theFamily?, Sarah Damaske at last provides a far more nuanced and richer picture of women, work, and class than the one commonly drawn.

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In the contentious debate about women and work, conventional wisdom holds that middle-class women can decide if they work, while working-class women need to work. Yet, even after the recent economic crisis, middle-class women are more likely to work than working-class women. Sarah Damaskedeflates the myth that financial needs dictate i...

Sarah Damaske is Assistant Professor of Labor Studies and Employment Relations at the Pennsylvania State University.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 5.98 × 9.09 × 0.71 inPublished:October 18, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019979149X

ISBN - 13:9780199791491

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Table of Contents

1. Women's Work Trajectories: Need, Choice and Women's StrategiesPART I: Expectations at Work2. The Shape of Women's Work Pathways3. A Major Career Woman? How Women Develop Early Expectations about WorkPART II: Work Pathways4. Staying Steady: Good Work and Family Support Across Classes5. Pulling Back: Divergent Routes to Similar Pathways6. A Life InterruptedPART III: Negotiating Expectations7. For the Family: How Women Account for Work Decisions8. Having it All? Egalitarian Dreams DeferredAppendixNotesReferencesIndex