WOMEN AND HOME-BASED WORK: The Unspoken Contract by Kathleen Christensen

WOMEN AND HOME-BASED WORK: The Unspoken Contract

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An earnest attempt by environmental psychologist Christensen to demonstrate how working for pay in the home affects the lives of women. Concerned that the 1980's picture of blissful home-based work was a false one, Christensen began interviewing women in the N.Y.C. area. Her search led to a Family Circle survey of 14,000 women, and ultimately resulted in this book. For the most part, Christensen focuses on married women and the problems and dilemmas they face, arguing that many women are caught by the unspoken contracts of their lives and marriages. Unfortunately, she offers very little analysis, historical context, or practical suggestions about how these unspoken contracts come to be, or how to go about talking about them, and possibly changing them. Thus, the stories of 19 women in such chapters as ""Home-makers Who Need to Earn Money,"" ""Career Women Who Need to Raise Their Children,"" ""Empty Nesters,"" and ""The Negotiators"" never rise above the personal, and Christensen's comments at the end of each profile fail to expand the context beyond the individual so that the reader can confront her own unspoken contracts and the challenges of home-based work. Oddly, the original survey is not reproduced here, although one for men is--apparently Christensen is ready to move on to the unspoken contracts in men's lives. This book may appeal to those who want to read about women's straggles, but it offers little hope or insight into the very real dilemmas of home-based work and unspoken contracts.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 1987
Publisher: Henry Holt