Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

List of Figures

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pp. vii-viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-xii

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xvi

...Two concerns motivated me to write this book. The first was personal. The issues explored here are among the most important in my own development. As the research took shape, however, I realized that many, perhaps most, women in my generation share the same concerns. Although their responses vary, they face similar dilemmas, risks, and choices. Thus, a sustained analysis of these "personal" decisions seemed useful practically and politically, as well as intellectually, to a broad group of people...

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xvii-xx

...First, I owe a great intellectual debt to my years of training at the University of California at Berkeley and to the committee that oversaw this project when it began as a dissertation. As committee chair, Hal Wilensky performed above and beyond the call of duty. From the early stages of research design to reading the final draft, he provided that difficult combination of support and criticism. Although he never withheld his enthusiasm, he nevertheless demanded the highest standards of scholarship and sought...

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1 Women's Work and Family Decisions: The "Subtle Revolution" in Historical Perspective

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pp. 1-22

...We are in the midst of a "subtle revolution." Even seasoned observers, armed with statistics, are pointing to changes in women's behavior so vast as to warrant this label (Smith, 1979a). Current concerns about "the new working woman" and "the new choice of motherhood" reflect a growing awareness among experts and lay observers alike of the farreaching changes taking place in the work and family patterns of American women...

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2 Explaining Women's Behavior: A Theoretical Overview

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pp. 23-42

...To explain why women take the variety of pathways outlined in Chapter One, we must first address the underlying causes of women's behavior. Two general models for understanding women's behavior currently prevail: One stresses the role of social-structural coercion, and one stresses processes of early childhood socialization. These approaches parallel two of the dominant approaches in social theory generally, but neither is ultimately sufficient...

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3 Baselines

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pp. 43-68

...Children may not devote much time to thinking about their future, but most people, even as children, make both conscious and unconscious assumptions about what they want and will likely be able to get out of life. These early orientations provide a baseline from which adult development proceeds. Looking at childhood baselines shows how, as adults, the women of this study either stayed on course or veered away from their early life goals...

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4 Veering Away from Domesticity

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pp. 69-91

...This chapter examines the events, experiences, and processes that led some respondents to veer away from childbearing, child rearing, and domesticity and toward strong work commitments in adulthood. The events that marked significant turning points in the lives of these women deserve attention for two reasons. They not only shed light on the process of change, but they also help explain why some...

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5 Veering Toward Domesticity

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pp. 92-122

...Like the lives we have just examined, the lives of the women analyzed in the first part of this chapter underwent significant change in adulthood. These women, however, moved in the opposite direction: Over time, they traded their earlier work ambitions and aversions to domesticity for motherhood and domestic orientations. They began adulthood with high aspirations and a strong ambivalence toward domestic pursuits, but adult events and experiences intervened to challenge their assumptions and redirect their...

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6 Homemaking Versus Childlessness

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pp. 123-157

...Whether respondents developed a new orientation or sustained an old one, adult events and experiences shaped the way they all built their life paths. Whatever pattern they chose, however, structural crosspressures made it difficult for them to implement and sustain their decisions and preferences. Women who chose to place family and children before other life commitments confronted the dilemmas of how to overcome the isolation that homemaking can impose and how to defend their choices against the growing social...

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7 Combining Work and Motherhood

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pp. 158-190

...This chapter turns to a third group of women—those who chose to combine committed work with parenthood. This group differs from both groups discussed in Chapter Six, albeit in contrasting ways. Unlike domestically oriented women, these women were committed workers who viewed children as potentially costly to their work careers. Unlike permanently childless women, however, they decided over time that childlessness held greater costs than motherhood. These women thus neither wholeheartedly embraced motherhood nor rejected it completely. Rather, they approached parenthood reluctantly...

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8 The Changing Contours of Women's Place

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pp. 191-215

...We have followed a strategic cohort of women as they made critical decisions about work and family. They developed a variety of behavioral, psychological, and ideological responses to the variable, contradictory contexts they faced. How can we account for the variety of pathways these women took? What do these pathways imply about the social, psychological, and ideological underpinnings of "women's place"? What do they tell us about the...

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9 The Politics of Parenthood

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pp. 216-232

...This book has charted the process by which a small but strategic group of women who came of age in the 1970s made inextricably linked decisions about work and family. As women on the cutting edge of social change, this group is especially well situated to illuminate the causes, contours, and likely consequences of women's changing social position. They were born into a period of rapid social change and thus had to make work and family decisions...

Appendix A: Tables

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pp. 233-239

Appendix B: Methodology

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pp. 240-247

Appendix C: Sample Characteristics

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pp. 248-256

Appendix D: Interview Schedule

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pp. 257-286

Bibliography

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pp. 287-302

Index

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pp. 303-312