Review of Gender, Work, and Economy by Heidi Gottfried

Every feminist should read this, and so should anyone else concerned with any matter of gender equality.

This book takes its time to explain the way the world interacts with work and the binary genders. What makes men able to perform in the professional world the way they can? What makes some classes of women do the same? How does this influence immigration? How does it influence the creation of unions? What is the gender disparity in union participation? How does the work of caring for families factor into economies? What makes a job feminine or masculine? What is the price of not being of the assumed gender for the job? How does social reform effect gender equality in the work place? All of these questions and more are answered in this book. It looks deeply into the situations of women to see why we are still lagging behind men and what different countries have done to attempt to correct that, what’s worked and what hasn’t worked.

The style of writing can be a little hard to follow at times, particularly for those of us who are not well versed in economics, but a good dictionary and a little googling can make up for that. I greatly enjoyed the insights given by this book and the depth of perspective to continue my egalitarian quest for gender parity.

There are some big questions this book leaves me with pertaining to government and policies that encourage gender equality. In the US, we do not currently have many of these policies in place (paid family leave of any sort). Why do you think that is? Should we be fighting for those policies? Which should we fight for? Is there another way to achieve better equality without these policies?

I encourage all my readers (particularly those residing with me in the US) to think about those questions and offer an answer.
Personally, I’d rather not need the government to be involved. Surely, this is an issue that can be resolved in our homes without outside intervention, and perhaps in our workplaces after that. I hope that this imbalance can be corrected by the people who have the ability when they see it for what it is. Many companies are beginning to offer more family leave possibilities, perhaps this trend will grow enough for us to achieve a better state of equality without government intervention. But I could just be dreaming.

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