Opting Out Paper

Opting Out Paper - A fairly recent trend has been a...

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A fairly recent trend has been a prominent factor in the lives of educated professional mothers in the workforce in the past couple of age cohorts; this phenomenon that I speak of is known as the “opt out revolution”. Opting out refers to the “choice” that women in the workforce, especially highly educated women, make to leave their careers and focus their time on mothering their children after they become pregnant. The argument that Pamela Stone makes in her book Opting Out?: why women really quit careers and head home is that women really don’t have a choice at all on whether or not they wish to quit their careers to head home and take care of their children. She claims that women are forced by social pressures from the workplace and at home, known as the “double bind”, and all of the factors that effect these two realms is what truly forces women to head home rather then them choosing to do so. In this paper I will make a thorough analysis of Stones argument by evaluating her main points from her book. Then I will look at two scholarly sources, one that supports her argument and one that challenges it, to see how other people view her argument. Then I will draw from all of the research I’ve done in order to provide my own opinion on what I think has caused this prominent trend in mothers in the workforce, or lack there of. Stone argues in her book that women have what she calls a “choice gap” when they become mothers in that they are limited to the options that they have to both hold down a professional career and properly raise their children. Her study consisted of in- dept interviews of many highly educated women, this is so because these are the women who seam to be the prominent figures in this trend, to see what influenced their “choice” in leaving their careers to head home and raise their children.
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One of the reoccurring responses that she found in her interviews was that these women were supported and encouraged by both their husbands and their jobs to leave and attend to their children. Stone interpreted this in two ways; she claims that when their husbands say “it’s your choice” they really mean to say “it’s your problem”, and that the encouragement that they received from their workplace actually meant that her social surroundings encouraged the ideology that the mother’s rightful place is at home and not at work. Although women felt supported by their husbands, according to Stone, they failed to see that by doing so the husband was actually putting all the responsibility of raising the children upon the woman. This way of thinking is a result of the ideal form of family structure known as the breadwinner-homemaker mode of family. This family structure that was prominent in the American 1950’s supports the belief that the
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This note was uploaded on 11/18/2009 for the course SOCI 130 taught by Professor Cohen during the Fall '08 term at UNC.

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Opting Out Paper - A fairly recent trend has been a...

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