Upfailed to achieve self sufficiency learned the

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up/failed to achieve self- sufficiency Learned the importance of being able to take care of oneself—emotionally and economically
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Women’s Strategies of Self-Reliance Responsibility and Ambition at Work Gave women a sense of control over their destiny Refashioning Relationships Resisted (unequal) relationships as something that slows down the emergence of an “independent self” Postponed marriage Raised relationship standards Saw marriage as optional and reversible
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Redefine motherhood so that breadwinners are seen as good mothers Redesigned Motherhood Postponed motherhood For some, early motherhood accelerated interest in developing skills and career If married, wanted equal parenting For some, marriage was not necessary for motherhood
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Creating a social network Self-reliant women had friends and relatives as sources of Emotional support and social companionship Help with childcare Financial assistance Wealthier women were more likely to hire help with childcare “Independence is knowing whom I can depend on for what” (p. 147)
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Strategies of self-reliant women are rooted in the beliefs that Marriage may not be “secure or appealing” Limited chances of finding a supportive, egalitarian relationship But, self-reliant women find security in being able to count on oneself and one’s friends
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Choosing Domesticity About a quarter of Gerson’s interviewees chose marriage/family as their life centerpiece Considered “self-reliance” a dangerous strategy Saw emotional costs to putting work first Preferred an imperfect relationship to being alone
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Neo-traditional women held belief that only mothers can “mother” Felt that the best care of children came from the mother Many informants saw their husbands as too busy to father Some doubted their husband’s parenting skills (Dad as “babysitter”)
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Cautious Optimism Both self-reliant and neo- traditional women felt they had more choices and opportunities than their mothers and grandmothers Both groups keenly aware of the absence of institutional supports for combining work and parenthood
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Young Men’s Fallback Strategies Young men (like young women) are also worried about the prospects of “having it all” Interesting job Economic security Secure and happy family life
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Major focus of concern slightly different from women Worried about their abilities to support others Worried about work- family balance they may be pressured to do more at home and at work
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Gender Differences in “Fallback” Strategy 2/3 of male respondents cited a “neo-traditional” arrangement where if work-family balance became difficult, they would focus on work while their partners focused on domestic duties 1/3 of male respondents sought “autonomy” (i.e., a retreat from marriage and family) as a solution to low future earnings
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