UNNECESSARY CHOICES: The Hidden Life of the Executive Woman by Edith with Susan Kane Gilson

UNNECESSARY CHOICES: The Hidden Life of the Executive Woman

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The executive woman's lot is not a happy one; according to Gilson, she has primarily herself to blame. This book is based on a long questionnaire to which 250 women at the vice-presidential level or higher responded, plus in-depth interviews of 25 top female executives. Its findings supplement and, occasionally, contradict similar works such as The Managerial Woman and Sweet Success. To a woman, the executives are workaholics, most of whom have less time than they want for families and social activities, and practically no time for hobbies and other interests. Their noses are so close to the grindstone that they even tend to eschew socializing with any co-workers. All of them feel they have to work harder than men, and most are troubled by what they see as insufficient authority to do their jobs properly, and by lower pay, fewer promotions and perks. Although they are hard-working and fearsomely disciplined, they tend to have difficulty standing up for their fights. They also tend to eschew the traditional masculine methods of getting ahead which, Gilson says, are goal setting, risk taking and visibility. Fewer than half are currently married, over one-fifth have never married (compared with 5 percent of the general female population) and fewer than half have children. They tend to throw tantrums over small office problems and sulk at real or imagined slights. Gilson (a senior vice-president at J. Walter Thompson) believes women should become more assertive in resisting work overloads and in negotiating reasonable time off for family or other private matters, as well as for promotions and raises. She also contends that women should use their inborn talent for nurturing and inspiring others to greater advantage. This includes serving as mentors for younger women. For readers who aspire to executive womanhood or who have already achieved it, she reproduces her questionnaire and provides the key to evaluating responses. Although the book has few surprises and a tad too much psychobabble, it'll be a help for women who are trying to ""have it all"" and for those trying to understand them.

Pub Date: Feb. 19th, 1987
Publisher: Morrow