“At yet another moment when the best and brightest are needed in our fast-changing workforce, Pamela Stone and Meg Lovejoy offer a valuable take on what one of America’s greatest resources—the smart, talented women who opted out of their careers to raise children—face when they return and the consequences for all women seeking to strike a work/life balance.” —Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour
“A book we badly need. Stone and Lovejoy probe the lives of the very women who could and should be earning the same high salaries and leading the same companies and law firms as their male counterparts but are not. They demonstrate where and how the pipeline of female talent leaks, while also identifying paradoxes of privilege that reinforce existing power structures. It should be required reading at professional schools across the country.” —Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America
“A crucial book on a crucial subject. Building on their earlier influential study of high-achieving women who leave the workforce, Stone and Lovejoy trace the consequences of those decisions a decade later. Through these women’s stories, Opting Back In
offers a compelling and engaging account of how women can reinvent their careers, the challenges they face, and the policy reforms necessary to take advantage of their talent.”—Deborah L. Rhode, E.W. McFarland Professor of Law and Director of the Program on Social Entrepreneurship, Stanford University
“"How do professional women ‘opt back in’ after being out of the workforce to raise children? This fascinating and highly readable book provides a rare follow-up. The women’s experiences reveal how, with inflexible workplaces, women’s re-entry often emerged through re-invention. Opting Back In
offers a thoughtful and engaging analysis of the power of gender today." —Annette Lareau, author of Unequal Childhoods.
“Stone and Lovejoy show clearly how women’s cheerful language of reinvention veils status anxiety for children’s future in an age of increasing income inequality and disillusion with the often family-hostile and sexist atmosphere in high-stakes, high-status jobs.” —Joan Williams, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for WorkLife Law, University of California Hastings College of Law
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“Stone and Lovejoy have done it again—improved our understanding of what many interpret as women’s choices, in earlier work, to leave well-compensated professions to take care of family, and, in this book, to return after reinventing themselves, but often in less intense jobs in other fields. Jargon free and highly readable, Opting Back In shows that women’s choices are far from freely chosen but are structured by the lack of flexibility in long-hour, high-level jobs. The authors tell us how patriarchy and capitalism operate in the upper strata in the early 21st century and what we can do about it to bring about real change for everyone.”—Heidi Hartmann, President and CEO, Institute for Women's Policy Research.
“This book provides keen insights on challenges professional women face as they exit and later attempt to reestablish careers. Founded on rich data and crisply written, it is a must-read for anyone interested in work-family concerns.” —Stephen Sweet, Executive Officer, Work and Family Researchers Network
“Too often, discussion about the lack of women in leadership relies on inaccurate assumptions about why, when, and how high-achieving women pause or ratchet back their careers. Opting Back In offers a much-needed corrective to oversimplified narratives that obscure how the gendered expectations within organizations and families together restrict women’s paths as they attempt to restart their careers and reactivate their identity as professionals. Perhaps most importantly, Stone and Lovejoy show that, far from being relevant only to a rarefied segment of the population, the trajectories of women who have left and returned to white-collar jobs can help us all better understand the nature of gender inequality and how it might be more effectively challenged.” —Robin Ely, Harvard Business School.
“Demonstrates how the personal decisions of a group of elite women reverberate throughout our social world and become consequential both for those equally privileged and for those with far fewer advantages. Beautifully written and impeccably organized.” —Margaret K. Nelson, coauthor of Random Families
“Vividly captures the dilemma facing professional women wrestling with family obligations. Sympathetic and incisive, this book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the personal and public toll America’s lack of family policy enacts even on the advantaged.” —Sharon Sassler, coauthor of Cohabitation Nation