The XX Factor: How Working Women Are Creating a New Society

Alison Wolf

The XX Factor: How Working Women Are Creating a New Society

For most of history, being female defined the limits of a woman's achievements. But now, women are successful careerists equal to men. In Norway, women legally must constitute a third of all boards; in America, women have gone from 3% of practising lawyers in 1970 to 40% today, and over half of all law students. These changes are revolutionary - but not universal: the 'sisterhood' of working women is deeply divided. Making enormous strides in the workplace are young, educated, full-time professionals who have put children on hold. But for a second group of women this is unattainable: instead, they work part-time, earn less, are concentrated in heavily feminized occupations like cleaning and gain income and self-worth from having children young. As these two groups move ever further apart, shared gender no longer automatically creates interests in common with other women. Instead, for the first group, their working lives - and priorities - increasingly resemble those of the successful men they work alongside.The XX Factor lifts the curtain on the social, cultural and economic schisms behind the phenomenal rise of women in the workplace. 3.4 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
The XX Factor: How Working Women Are Creating a New Society

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Society, Politics & Philosophy, Business, Finance & Law
Format
Pages
RRP
Date of Publication April 2013
ISBN 978-1846684036
Publisher Profile
 

For most of history, being female defined the limits of a woman's achievements. But now, women are successful careerists equal to men. In Norway, women legally must constitute a third of all boards; in America, women have gone from 3% of practising lawyers in 1970 to 40% today, and over half of all law students. These changes are revolutionary - but not universal: the 'sisterhood' of working women is deeply divided. Making enormous strides in the workplace are young, educated, full-time professionals who have put children on hold. But for a second group of women this is unattainable: instead, they work part-time, earn less, are concentrated in heavily feminized occupations like cleaning and gain income and self-worth from having children young. As these two groups move ever further apart, shared gender no longer automatically creates interests in common with other women. Instead, for the first group, their working lives - and priorities - increasingly resemble those of the successful men they work alongside.The XX Factor lifts the curtain on the social, cultural and economic schisms behind the phenomenal rise of women in the workplace.

Reviews

The Financial Times

Lynda Gratton

Fascinating … The reality of women with the XX factor is that many are creating lives for which there are few role models. The XX Factor, however, is not a self-help manual, nor does it provide a how-to primer for corporate executives seeking to swell the number of women in senior roles. Instead, Wolf has written an exhaustive, intelligent, thoughtful and at times provocative and idiosyncratic analysis of what it is to be an elite woman. By laying out the choices that women are faced with and the consequences of their actions, Wolf is ensuring that we do not have to walk blindfold into the future.

03/05/2013

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The Observer

Katharine Whitehorn

Readably written, the book's a mass of facts and surveys, interviews, statistics and comparisons between countries; it could be a crucial bible for anyone wanting to check up on anything about contemporary women.

28/04/2013

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The Sunday Times

Eleanor Mills

The XX Factor is a feast of data, but it’s immensely hard to digest. I can’t see too many exhausted “have-it-all” women managing to keep their eyes open late at night to digest this overly stodgy and dry fare. Wolf is the author of a highly influential government report on vocational education, so there’s no quibbling with the steadiness or heft of her research (more than one-third of this book is notes and sources). But she has forgotten Mary Poppins’s crucial adage: a spoonful of sugar makes the data-heavy medicine go down. This book will be wonderfully useful as a research resource — but as pleasure? No thanks.

28/04/2013

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The Guardian

Jenny Turner

Lots of this stuff is interesting, but the book is one of those examples of how more is not always better. Bulked out with so many added extras, the argument risks becoming a repetitive litany of rational-choice bromides … The tone is also uneven, probably because Wolf isn't sure what sort of readership she's aiming at. The authority of the original essay is replaced by chat and anecdotes, a bit like Freakonomics but less flash.

27/04/2013

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