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Unbending Gender

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  73 ratings  ·  13 reviews
In Unbending Gender, Joan Williams takes a hard look at the state of feminism in America. Concerned by what she finds--young women who flatly refuse to identify themselves as feminists and working-class and minority women who feel the movement hasn't addressed the issues that dominate their daily lives--she outlines a new vision of feminism that calls for workplaces focuse ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 13th 2001 by Oxford University Press, USA (first published November 18th 1999)
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Elizabeth Johansen
This is a dense and amazing book that describes a new kind of feminism - reconstructive feminism. It includes a history of where we have come from regarding gender roles in society and specifically talks about what aspects of 1960's feminism aren't working today. The main proposition: I kinder, gentler world where both men and women have the ability to work fewer hours, and either gender can pursue their dreams of career, family, or both.
full of interesting facts and tidbits and perspectives I hadn't considered about how people, male and female, from all classes, deal with balancing a career and a family and a LIFE. Pretty convincing evidence on the need for paradigm changes.
I used this book for a research paper about family work conflict for attorneys. I really appreciated the depth of her theory and the amount of statistical research she used to support this... Although I did feel that some of the legal solutions she proffers are based in theory and not the reality of the current legal system (and hostility toward toward these types of cases). Interestingly enough, she also makes the case that work-family conflict is not a "women's issue"

Nonetheless, I really like
Joan Williams does an incredible job of systematizing many issues that I have always thought of separately. Her vision in this book is broad--sometimes so broad that it makes it difficult to follow, but nevertheless the ambitious scope remains an asset.

Her most effective argument is about the need to dismantle the ideal-worker norm. She skillfully shows how our "norm of parental care"--the deeply valued cultural belief that children are entitled to a certain amount of parental care--functions in
Anya Behn
I am very interested in women and cultural politics. The best thing about this book is that the author is a lawyer who is showing how to change our world legally to assist in cultural acceptance of the value of women's work. The book "Get to Work" is another in this vein--she said "If women (working at home) worked next door they would be getting paid & have Social Security."
I enjoyed this book. I read it as a part of a sociology course that I took and it was really eye opening in a number of ways.
A book that changed the way I think about work and caregiving, and how we value caregiving in US society.
Should be part of the official learning curricula.
I had high hopes for this book since the subject matter definitely is interesting to me and applies to my life. Here is my beef- the dust cover says "the author presents material in layman's terms so that all can understand" (or something to that effect). It is absolutely not in layman's terms. I am a layman and I did not understand half of what she was saying. But I got one thing out of the parts I read (because I actually didn't finish it)- our culture's view on women and work are not only hor ...more
Pros: Really gets down to the root of the problem fueling gender wars and explains some of my observations with the varying views of women.
cons: It is very technical which makes it very hard to read and seems very dull at times. Lots of technical terms and back references to them and other chapters.

Once you get pass the dull technical aspects, it has really great points!
Great analysis of why it's so hard to combine motherhood and career in today's society, and why options for part-time work are so limited. Not much help for an individual in the "what to do about it" department.
Apr 01, 2013 Jesse rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jesse by: Women's History class text
everyone who dislikes the current state of equality between women and men, and even those who like current gender roles should read this book. so basically everyone.
Too much of a feminist agenda and I didn't appreciate the lack of objectivity..also a dead boring read.
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Professor Joan C. Williams is Distinguished Professor of Law, 1066 Foundation Chair, founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at University of California, Hastings College of the Law, and Co-Director of the Project on Attorney Retention (PAR).
More about Joan C. Williams...
What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know Reshaping the Work-Family Debate: Why Men and Class Matter Solving the Part-Time Puzzle: The Law Firm's Guide to Balanced Hours Journal of Social Issues, the Maternal Wall: Research and Policy Perspectives on Discrimination Against Mothers Rethinking Commodification: Cases and Readings in Law and Culture

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