What We Are Reading Today: Making Motherhood Work by Caitlyn Collins

Updated 12 January 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Making Motherhood Work by Caitlyn Collins

  • Caitlyn Collins explores how women navigate work and family given the different policy supports available in each country

Women struggle to balance breadwinning with the bulk of parenting, and stress is constant. Social policies do not help. Of all Western industrialized countries, the US ranks dead last for supportive work-family policies: No federal paid parental leave. The highest gender wage gap. No minimum standard for vacation and sick days. The highest maternal and child poverty rates. 

Can American women look to European policies for solutions? Making Motherhood Work draws on interviews that sociologist Caitlyn Collins conducted over five years with 135 middle-class working mothers in Sweden, Germany, Italy, and the US. She explores how women navigate work and family given the different policy supports available in each country, says a review on the Princeton University Press website. 

Mothers in western Germany and Italy, where maternalist values are strong, are stigmatized for pursuing careers. Meanwhile, American working mothers stand apart for their guilt and worry. Policies alone, Collins discovers, cannot solve women’s struggles.

Easing them will require a deeper understanding of cultural beliefs about gender equality, employment, and motherhood. With women held to unrealistic standards in all four countries, the best solutions demand that we redefine motherhood, work, and family.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

Updated 21 January 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Inheritance by Dani Shapiro

  • The memoir is Dani Shapiro’s most intimate memoir to date

A compelling exploration of paternity, identity, and belonging, Inheritance centers on a shocking discovery about the author’s ancestry. 

This is an excellent memoir about a woman who decides to do an Ancestry.com DNA test. 

She did it on a whim, not expecting to find out her father is not her biological father. 

The memoir, which is in four parts, is Dani Shapiro’s most intimate memoir to date.

“Shapiro’s account is beautifully written and deeply moving — it brought me to tears more than once,” said Ruth Franklin in a review published in the New York Times.

Shapiro is the bestselling author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. 

She lives with her family in LItchfield County, Connecticut.