Unbending Gender

Unbending Gender

Why Family and Work Conflict and What to Do About It

eBook - 2001
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Oxford University Press
In Unbending Gender, Joan Williams takes a hard look at the state of feminism in America. Concerned by what she finds--young women who flatly refuse to identify themselves as feminists and working-class and minority women who feel the movement hasn't addressed the issues that dominate their daily lives--she outlines a new vision of feminism that calls for workplaces focused on the needs of families and, in divorce cases, recognition of the value of family work and its impact on women's earning power.
Williams shows that workplaces are designed around men's bodies and life patterns in ways that discriminate against women, and that the work/family system that results is terrible for men, worse for women, and worst of all for children. She proposes a set of practical policies and legal initiatives to reorganize the two realms of work in employment and households--so that men and women can lead healthier and more productive personal and work lives. Williams introduces a new 'reconstructive' feminism that places class, race, and gender conflicts among women at center stage. Her solution is an inclusive, family-friendly feminism that supports both mothers and fathers as caregivers and as workers.
In Unbending Gender, Joan Williams takes a hard look at the state of feminism in America. Concerned by what she finds--young women who flatly refuse to identify themselves as feminists and working-class and minority women who feel the movement hasn't addressed the issues that dominate their daily lives--she outlines a new vision of feminism that calls for workplaces focused on the needs of families and, in divorce cases, recognition of the value of family work and its impact on women's earning power.
Williams notes that good jobs in America are designed for the ideal employee, who works full-time and often overtime, with no career interruptions. Even today, most American mothers do not meet this ideal: a majority do not work full-time, and only a small fraction work overtime. Williams points out that women will never achieve equality until mothers do: she argues that employers need to implement parent-supportive policies--or face liability for sex discrimination. She also maintains that ideal-worker fathers are supported by a flow of family work from mothers, yet divorce courts treat the family wage as owned solely by the ideal worker. The result is the impoverishment of women and children, who comprise the bulk of the poor in the United States.
Unbending Gender questions the idea that women simply choose between staying at home with their children or going to work. Given the limited options that contemporary American culture allows them, mothers are forced to make compromises. Joan Williams' solution is an inclusive, family-friendly feminism that supports both mothers and fathers as caregivers and as workers.

Publisher: Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2001, ©2000
ISBN: 9780199771899
0199771898
0195147146
9780195147148
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xii, 338 pages) : illustrations

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