Social Changes: Parenting and Work Flexibility

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In Reshaping the Work-Family Debate, Joan Williams discusses many different social changes that are necessary for our nation to move forward with gender equality in the workplace. One of Williams’ suggestions is the political and cultural change that would allow for the “missing middle” class to become recognized. She describes the “missing middle” as a broad group that consist of working class people and upper-class middle who don’t like to think of themselves as the poor, working class. However, this is the largest group in America and tends to get skipped over, as the elite, upper class groups are the ones making the policies and the lower class is the class typically being examined by those making the policies. (Williams, 156)
Another social change that has been suggested can be found in Pamela Stone’s Opting Out? Stone suggests that rather than implementing leave policies for women, they implement “stay policies.” This would encourage women to come back to work after spending time with their children rather than quitting or “opting out” of the work force after they leave. These new policies would feature more flexibility in both work time and place. It also would not just be for women, and would allow for more long-term flexibility, where leave policies are very short term. (Stone, 224)
Kathleen Gerson’s The Unfinished Revolution discusses more cultural changes that are necessary for gender in the work place. Many of the young adults she interviewed discussed moving towards new outlooks regarding both work and family, which would allow for gender equality in both the workplace and the home. Many women declared outlooks of self-reliance, as a fallback. Claiming they want to be able to support themselves and not b...

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...akers would recognize that the “missing middle” class has a lot of opinions and suggestions that could make the work and family debate a lot easier for all involved.

Works Cited
Gerson, Kathleen. The Unfinished Revolution: Coming of Age in a New Era of Gender, Work, and Family. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2011. Print.
Shows, Carla, and Naomi Gerstel. "Fathering, Class, and Gender: A Comparison of Physicians and Emergency Medical Technicians." Gender & Society 23.2 (2008): 161-87. Print.
Stone, Pamela. Opting Out?: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home. Berkeley: University of California, 2007. Print.
Williams, Christine L., Chandra Muller, and Kristine Kilanski. "Gendered Organizations in the New Economy." Gender and Society 26.4 (2012): 549-73. Web.
Williams, Joan. Reshaping the Work-family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 2012. Print.

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