Feminism Reconsiders Motherhood

Womenomics Write Your Own Rules for Success Claire Shipman and Katty KayHarperBusiness, 2009; 256 pages, $27.99 Some time after Rosie the riveter helped in the World War Two effort, the percentage of women working outside the home doubled and women made their way into the front offices. According to an April 1996 essay in The Economist, “Women and the World Economy: A Guide to Womenomics,” two-thirds of today’s women work in paid jobs outside the home; almost half of the American workforce consists of women—more than in any other country; and women produce just under 40 percent of the official GDP of developed economies. Indeed, the magazine contends that women are the “most powerful engine of global growth.” A strategy report of Goldman Sachs, “Women-omics: Buy the Female Economy,” seems to agree. It pointed out in 1999 that cell phones, the Internet, PCs, minicars, condominiums and luxury goods were all “pockets (or purses) of strength that have largely been supported by female demand.” The report claimed that “future potential economic growth will depend on increased female labor participation.” Whether their new economic cloud sits well with American women is not all that clear. According to Marcia G. Yerman on the Huffington Post last September, 87 percent of women who work outside the home admitted that they wanted more “equilibrium between the competing areas of their lives.” More significant, two accomplished journalists—Claire Shipman, ABC News’ Good Morning America senior national correspondent, and Katty Kay, BBC World News America Washington correspondent—suggest that the changed economic landscape may be a two-edged sword, especially for the “educated, relatively high-earning career women” to whom they are writing. In Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success, they call for a “more sane” workplace while describing a paradigm shift that, they postulate, increases the value of women in the workplace
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