Claudia Goldin, "Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity" (Princeton UP, 2021)

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A century ago, it was a given that a woman with a college degree had to choose between having a career and a family. Today, there are more female college graduates than ever before, and more women want to have a career and family, yet challenges persist at work and at home. This book traces how generations of women have responded to the problem of balancing career and family as the twentieth century experienced a sea change in gender equality, revealing why true equity for dual career couples remains frustratingly out of reach.

Drawing on decades of her own groundbreaking research, Claudia Goldin provides a fresh, in-depth look at the diverse experiences of college-educated women from the 1900s to today, examining the aspirations they formed—and the barriers they faced—in terms of career, job, marriage, and children. She shows how many professions are “greedy,” paying disproportionately more for long hours and weekend work, and how this perpetuates disparities between women and men. Goldin demonstrates how the era of COVID-19 has severely hindered women’s advancement, yet how the growth of remote and flexible work may be the pandemic’s silver lining.

Antidiscrimination laws and unbiased managers, while valuable, are not enough. Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity (Princeton UP, 2021) explains why we must make fundamental changes to the way we work and how we value caregiving if we are ever to achieve gender equality and couple equity.

Marshall Poe is the founder and editor of the New Books Network. He can be reached at marshallpoe@newbooksnetwork.com.

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