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WORK MATTERS by Sara Friedman

WORK MATTERS

Women Talk About Their Jobs and Their Lives

By Sara Friedman

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-670-84203-6
Publisher: Viking

 An informative, upbeat, yet honest assessment of the role of work in women's lives--how they define it, and how it defines them. ``Most women are still keeping to themselves the most important truth: What we do matters to us. Work may not be the most important thing in our lives or the only thing . . . but we still want . . . to respect ourselves for what we do and to make a difference,'' says Friedman. Though women's gains in the workplace over the past 30 years have been significant and the importance of paid work to women has never been greater, it remains ``a world made by and for men''; and problems like social isolation, pay inequities, family-unfriendly policies, and glass ceilings keep women feeling like outsiders. Friedman (coauthor, No Experience Necessary, not reviewed) brings together the voices of the dozens of working women she interviewed across America between 1987 and 1995. From corporate vice presidents to truck drivers, Friedman surveys women's views on their changing relationships to work, money, power, gender, their partners, and their families. The stories are never dull: A high-powered lawyer says we should stop expecting all working women to be outstanding in their fields; a county board member reasons that ``if you can decide which child gets the jellybean, you can decide where to put a landfill''; a contractor uses photo business cards, proudly capitalizing on her looks. Despite the many work-related troubles recounted in these pages, Friedman concludes that at least women in the workforce know that ``it's the system and not them that needs changing. And they are fighting for those changes.'' Friedman exhorts working women to stand up for what they need and what they want, and she has assembled an array of fascinating case histories to help illuminate the way. (Author tour)