Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity - book cover
  • Publisher : Princeton University Press
  • Published : 12 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 344
  • ISBN-10 : 0691201781
  • ISBN-13 : 9780691201788
  • Language : English

Career and Family: Women’s Century-Long Journey toward Equity

A renowned economic historian traces women's journey to close the gender wage gap and sheds new light on the continued struggle to achieve equity between couples at home

A century ago, it was a given that a woman with a college degree had to choose between having a career and a family. Today, there are more female college graduates than ever before, and more women want to have a career and family, yet challenges persist at work and at home. This book traces how generations of women have responded to the problem of balancing career and family as the twentieth century experienced a sea change in gender equality, revealing why true equity for dual career couples remains frustratingly out of reach.

Drawing on decades of her own groundbreaking research, Claudia Goldin provides a fresh, in-depth look at the diverse experiences of college-educated women from the 1900s to today, examining the aspirations they formed―and the barriers they faced―in terms of career, job, marriage, and children. She shows how many professions are "greedy," paying disproportionately more for long hours and weekend work, and how this perpetuates disparities between women and men. Goldin demonstrates how the era of COVID-19 has severely hindered women's advancement, yet how the growth of remote and flexible work may be the pandemic's silver lining.

Antidiscrimination laws and unbiased managers, while valuable, are not enough. Career and Family explains why we must make fundamental changes to the way we work and how we value caregiving if we are ever to achieve gender equality and couple equity.

Editorial Reviews

"The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the frustration of mothers who are fed up and exhausted. In a sweeping overview of a century of change in how women work and have families, Claudia Goldin gives this problem a name: greedy work. Her tour de force shows us where we have been and where we must go if women are ever to achieve full equality in their marriages and their jobs."―Betsey Stevenson, University of Michigan

"This book is a must-read, especially for anyone balancing parenting with a career and frustrated with the disparate challenge on women in doing so. It is a powerful look at the history and data of the generations of women who have faced this challenge and the progress they made, and uses this history and data to show the way toward meaningful progress."―Emily Oster, author of Expecting Better and Cribsheet

"Now, for the first time in history, women can have families and careers. Read Goldin's masterpiece to understand the causes of this twentieth-century transformation and the pathway to gender equality."―Alice Evans, King's College London

"In classic fashion, Claudia Goldin carefully marshals a century's worth of economic data to analyze gender inequity in the household and in the labor market. This sweeping, meticulously researched book is essential reading for those who seek to understand the dimensions and origins of the gender pay gap."―Lisa D. Cook, Michigan State University

"Girls do better than boys in high school, and women are more likely than men to graduate from college, yet men still earn more than women. How come? Claudia Goldin is the expert on this question, and Career and Family provides a comprehensive answer in what is the equivalent of a historical novel spanning five generations. The book is concise, thorough, and completely engaging."―Richard H. Thaler, coauthor of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

"Career and Family provides real answers to a century's worth of questions about the drivers of gender inequality. With the rigor of an economist and the deft touch of a humanist, Goldin combines data with individual life stories, leaving no doubt that the problem lies in the nature of work rather than the nature of women. After reading this book, it is impossible to ignore the unavoidable reliance of the economy on caregiving and the necessity of society-wide solutions."―Anne-Marie Slaughter, author of Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family

Readers Top Reviews

Caroline L.
A lot of people like to talk about the gender pay gap. This economist has focused on it for her research. She talks about the difference between flexible and greedy jobs. It is neat to see how providing for a family vs. caring for one cause different career decisions which pile on each other over time.