Monday, August 12, 2013

Opting out and wanting back in

The NYTimes magazine has an article on "The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In"

"After one emotional session with a friend, her 12-year-old daughter asked what all the fuss was about. O’Donnel told her: “This is the perfect reason why you need to work. You don’t have to make a million dollars. You don’t have to have a wealthy lifestyle. You just always have to be able to at least earn enough so you can support yourself.”

Nine years ago, O’Donnel was promoting a very different message. She was a spokeswoman of sorts for a group of women — highly educated, very accomplished, well-paid professionals with high-earning spouses — who in the early 2000s made headlines for leaving the work force just when they were hitting their stride. They were a small demographic to be sure (another, larger, group who left the work force at that time — poor mothers who couldn’t afford child care — went without notice), but they garnered a great deal of media attention."

"Ten years later, in her second round of research, things were different. While 23 percent of Hewlett’s women, post-recession, said their husbands were worried financially, and 30 percent said their husbands were “envious or angry” about their decision not to work, many of Stone’s high-earning husbands came, over time, to want their wives to stay home. “This round, I’m hearing more, ‘My husband really prefers that I be home,’ ” Stone said of her recent talks with those women. “They say, ‘It’s a big surprise: we’ve really gone to a very traditional household now.’ ”

Many of the women I spoke with were troubled by the gender-role traditionalism that crept into their marriages once they gave up work, transforming them from being their husbands’ intellectual equals into the one member of their partnership uniquely endowed with gifts for laundry or cooking and cleaning; a junior member of the household, who sometimes had to “negotiate” with her husband to get money for child care."

The whole article is here, the original article is here

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