Lisa Belkin's The Opt-Out Revolution

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I. Synopsis The main argument posed by Lisa Belkin in “The Opt-Out Revolution” revolves around the multi-faceted issue of women’s involvement and presence in the paid work sector. Belkin argues that the issue of the unequal representation of women in full-time, full-year careers is a culmination of the impact of the maternal wall, the nature of the “stalled revolution”, and personal life “decisions” made by women. Throughout her work, Belkin addresses the tangible reality of the maternal wall and it’s impact on women’s ability to climb the corporate ladder, as well as the obstacles it creates for women seeking to re-enter the workforce post-childbirth. Belkin elaborates on the “stalled revolution” that women and feminists alike are facing today, citing explanations varying from the essentialist belief of inherent biological differences between men and women to the role of socialization in the creation of gender roles. One of Belkin’s more interesting arguments involves the difference between women’s definition of success and men’s, and the impact it has on their respective definitions of work. In sum, Belkin’s primary thesis is to discover the elements present that are directly impacting the schism between men’s and women’s work. II. Critical Review Most importantly, Belkin acknowledges the monumental progress that feminists have made in the short forty years preceding modern women’s rights. With this in mind, Belkin also seeks to uncover the elements responsible for the “stalled revolution” that women are encountering in the workplace. The rapid progress made by women in those forty years has come to a halt; in the past decade, society has seen relatively insignificant progress in the realm of women’s equality at the workplac... ... middle of paper ... ...omen choosing to opt-out, or is there no other option”? To answer these questions, future research questions should address whether the implementation of family-friendly policies and organizational restructuring would actually impact the “opt-out” phenomenon, and more importantly, are women actually choosing to opt-out, or is there just no other viable option? Works Cited Armstrong, Lisa. 2010. “Success Redefined.” Work Mother. 33(7):83-84,86. Belkin, Lisa. 2003. “The Opt-Out Revolution,” The New York Times, October 26, pp. 1-15. Mainiero, Lisa A. and Sullivan, Sherry E. 2005. “Kaleidoscope Careers: An Alternate Explanation for the “Opt-Out” Revolution.” Academy Of Management Executive. 19(1):106-123. Porter, Nicole B. 2006. “Re-Defining Superwoman: An Essay on Overcoming the Maternal Wall in the Legal Workplace.” Duke Journal of Gender Law and Policy, 13:106.

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