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The Unfinished Revolution Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family



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Oxford University Press
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  • The Unfinished Revolution Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family
    The Unfinished Revolution Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family


The vast changes in family life--the rise of single, same-sex, and two-paycheck parents--have often been blamed for declining morality and unhappy children. Drawing upon pioneering research with the children of the gender revolution, Kathleen Gerson reveals that it is not a lack of "family values," but rigid social and economic forces that make it difficult to live out those values. In the controversial public debate over modern American families, The Unfinished Revolution takes a measured approach, looking at the young adults who grew up in the tumultuous post-feminist period. Despite the entrance of women into the workforce and the blurring of once clearly defined gender boundaries, men and women live in a world where the demands of balancing parenting and work, autonomy and commitment, time and money are left largely unresolved. Gerson finds that while an overwhelming majority of young men and women see an egalitarian balance within committed relationships as the ideal, today's social and economic realities remain based on traditional--and now obsolete--distinctions between breadwinning and caretaking. In this equity vacuum, men and women develop conflicting strategies, with women stressing self-reliance and men seeking a new traditionalism. With compassion for all perspectives, Gerson argues that whether one decides to give in to traditionally imbalanced relationships or to avoid marriage completely, these approaches are second-best responses, not personal preferences or inherent attributes, and they will shift if new options can be created to help people achieve their egalitarian aspirations. The Unfinished Revolution makes clear recommendations for the kinds of workplace and community changes that would best bring about a more egalitarian family life--a new flexibility at work and at home that benefits families, encourages a thriving economy, and helps women and men integrate love and work.

Author Biography

Kathleen Gerson is Professor of Sociology at New York University. A recognized authority on work, gender, and family life, she frequently contributes to media such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, NBC Today Show, ABC Good Morning America, and CNN. Her most recent books include No Man's Land: Men's Changing Commitments to Family and Work and The Time Divide: Work, Family, and Gender Inequality (with Jerry A. Jacobs).

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
The Shaping of a New Generationp. 1
Growing Up in Changing Families
Families beyond the Stereotypesp. 15
The Rising Fortunes of Flexible Familiesp. 46
Domestic Deadlocks and Declining Fortunesp. 72
Facing the Future
High Hopes, Lurking Fearsp. 103
Women's Search for Self-Reliancep. 124
Men's Resistance to Equal Sharingp. 159
Reaching across the Gender Dividep. 189
Finishing the Gender Revolutionp. 214
List of Respondents and Sample Demographicsp. 227
Studying Social and Individual Changep. 231
Notesp. 237
Referencesp. 265
Indexp. 283
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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