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Professional Success in the 1990s

by Terri Apter

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-09675-5
Publisher: St. Martin's

 A subtle and sensitive exploration of why professional women continue to fail at achieving equality with men in the workplace: a follow-up to Apter's Why Women Don't Have Wives (1985). Drawing from interviews with professional women conducted over a ten-year period in Britain and the US, and analyzing feminist theory from Friedan to Faludi, Apter (a fellow at Cambridge Univ.) concludes that women have failed to achieve equality with men not because men are conspiring to keep them barefoot and pregnant or because women secretly yearn, Cinderella-like, to be taken care of by men, but because of fundamental conflicts between work and family life: because working women, unlike men, don't have wives. The workplace--in which men are expected to labor long hours while a wife or other domestic watches the children--isn't set up to meet the needs of working mothers. Meanwhile, every woman who opts to have children faces hard choices: If she takes time off, she faces economic dependence or banishment to the ``mommy track''; if she doesn't, she risks exhaustion and guilt. Still, women--more than 50 percent of the work force, with half of childbearing women returning to their jobs within a year of a child's birth--continue to juggle work and family life: to strive, as men have always done, for success in love and work. It's these women--as well as their individual struggles and solutions--who will continue to offer blueprints for changing the structures of society. A thoughtful analysis of an extraordinarily complex problem, as well as a concise summary of feminist thought over the past four decades: of appeal to anyone interested in understanding the feminist revolution.