Heading Home: Motherhood, Work, and the Failed Promise of Equality (Hardback)
  • Heading Home: Motherhood, Work, and the Failed Promise of Equality (Hardback)
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Heading Home: Motherhood, Work, and the Failed Promise of Equality (Hardback)

(author)
£28.00
Hardback 304 Pages / Published: 25/01/2019
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Women in today's advanced capitalist societies are encouraged to "lean in." The media and government champion women's empowerment. In a cultural climate where women can seemingly have it all, why do so many successful professional women-lawyers, financial managers, teachers, engineers, and others-give up their careers after having children and become stay-at-home mothers? How do they feel about their decision and what do their stories tell us about contemporary society?

Heading Home reveals the stark gap between the promise of gender equality and women's experience of continued injustice. Shani Orgad draws on in-depth, personal, and profoundly ambivalent interviews with highly educated London women who left paid employment to take care of their children while their husbands continued to work in high-powered jobs. Despite identifying the structural forces that maintain gender inequality, these women still struggle to articulate their decisions outside the narrow cultural ideals that devalue motherhood and individualize success and failure. Orgad juxtaposes these stories with media and policy depictions of women, work, and family, detailing how-even as their experiences fly in the face of fantasies of work-life balance and marriage as an egalitarian partnership-these women continue to interpret and judge themselves according to the ideals that are failing them. Rather than calling for women to transform their feelings and behavior, Heading Home argues that we must unmute and amplify women's desire, disappointment, and rage, and demand social infrastructure that will bring about long-overdue equality both at work and at home.

Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231184724
Number of pages: 304
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This book tells a story about sacrificing career for family that resonates far beyond the lives of the women in London Shani Orgad has interviewed. Orgad makes a powerful argument about the denials women experience, precisely because the author does not rant. She is a gifted explorer of adulthood in all its promises, twists, and disappointments. Shani Orgad is one of the finest sociologists of her generation. -- Richard Sennett, author of The Corrosion of Character: The Personal Consequences of Work in the New Capitalism
Heading Home is a wonderfully researched and written book, highly engaging, and on a hugely important topic. Orgad's interviews highlight very meaningful themes: the fact that oppression can be experienced alongside privilege; that structural inequality masks what are perceived as personal choices; and how the public discourses and media representations of 'choice' shape the self-identity of women who in fact did not have much of a choice. A great accomplishment! -- Dafna Lemish, Rutgers University
In this rich and compelling book, Shani Orgad persuasively argues for the power of cultural forces, alongside toxic workplace structures and flimsy public policies, to block pathways, shrink selves, and stifle rage among accomplished, highly-educated women who sacrificed careers as they headed home to care for young children. She beautifully weaves the sometimes-wrenching stories of mothers with incisive analysis demarcating the unique predicament of these mothers, who find it difficult to articulate return pathways to the work world despite the celebratory and contradictory culture of mompreneurs and the confidence fantasy. Brilliant! -- Melissa A. Milkie, University of Toronto
Orgad argues that if these affluent women find it hard to juggle work, family and childcare, then those with less money must find the struggle so much harder. * Financial Times *
Heading Home is an essential book. Its significance lies in astutely analysing the contradictions and ambivalences of lived experiences and public discourses of motherhood, equality and work, an important task that is often neglected in media and cultural research. * LSE Review of Books *
The sociologist Shani Orgad enters this rich terrain with a book that asks us to consider those highly educated contemporary women who leave the workforce to raise children. * Times Literary Supplement *
This is a fascinating study, written in the best traditions of interdisciplinarity that would certainly be of great interest to academics studying gender and work, feminist theory and contemporary culture. * Gender, Work, and Organization *
Shani Orgad's Heading Home is a fascinating book. It is insightful, attractively written,
warm, sometimes painful, pessimistic - yet also hopeful. -- Hanna-Mari Ikonen * Sociology *
[An] engaging and well-written book . . . A strength of the book is Orgad's insight into the role of the individualist and gender-egalitarian social imaginary on individual and collective understandings of gender, work, and family. * Choice *

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