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Creating a Life: Professional Women and the Quest for Children Hardcover – Apr 10 2002

3.0 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Miramax Books; 1 edition (April 10 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786867663
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786867660
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 494 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars 63 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #752,484 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

"Between a third and a half of all high-achieving women in America do not have children" and "the vast majority yearn" for them, says Hewlett, founder of the National Parenting Association. In this study of baby lust, Hewlett portrays the anguished hand-wringing by middle-aged women who were career-obsessed throughout their 20s and 30s, only to wake up single at 40, biological clocks all petered out. Infertility treatment is not a solution, she says; it's expensive, dangerous to women's health and unlikely to produce a pregnancy, much less a live, healthy baby. Moms and potential moms from playwright Wendy Wasserstein to a 46-year-old single woman who traveled to China to adopt illustrate Hewlett's thesis that "some of the most heartfelt struggles of the breakthrough generation have centered on the attempt to snatch a child from the jaws of menopause. A few succeed; most do not." Hewlett attests that "if high-altitude careers inevitably exact a price, it's profoundly unfair that the highest prices... are paid by women." "Self-indulgent" women might try to have a child and a career by hiring a nanny, but for Hewlett, it's more "courageous" for a woman to forgo childbearing if a career is her real goal. Hewlett's advice to young women is strangely retro: get married you'll be happier and healthier. She counsels them to give "urgent priority" to finding a marriage partner fast, "have your first baby before 35" and look for work at a family-friendly corporation. Though ardently argued, her case is unconvincing.

From Booklist

Founder of the National Parenting Association, Hewlett reports on new data showing nearly half of the most successful women in corporate America are childless, mostly contrary to their heartfelt desires. Hewlett begins with interviews of high-powered women--lawyers, journalists, scholars, doctors, businesswomen--who wanted children but ran out of time to begin their families. She reviews recent data on career women and their odds of marrying and raising a family, noting that despite promising medical technology, most women over the age of 40 aren't able to conceive and deliver healthy babies. According to the author, "most of the heartfelt struggles of the breakthrough generation have centered on the attempt to snatch a child from the jaws of menopause." Finally, she presents strategies on how young women can avoid the fate of the previous generation and what corporations can do to support women who want both careers and families. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If I had known then what I know now:
1. I wouldn't have felt so alone in my quest to have children while climbing the corporate ladder.
2. I probably would have tried to have my 2 kids a little earlier before the height of my career as opposed to during the height of my career.
3. I would have rejoiced more while pregnant over how lucky I was/am to have become a mom in my mid-thirties rather than feel bad that I was being passed over for promotions.
4. I would have encouraged girlfriends who are now too old to have kids to have had kids earlier, rather than encouraged them as much in their careers.
5. I would have set myself up more conservatively in my finances so that I could truly enjoy my young family better.
Overall, this book gives working women the TRUTH, not the "you can have it all" line that feminists and propaganda have been throwing at this generation of women for some thirty-plus years now. The truth is, having a family isn't the same for women as it is for men; and therefore, how can women expect that their careers can be equal or the same to a man's after having a family? Well, the cold-hard truth is, in today's corporate society women are not supported in their endeavors to have families. And whether Sylvia Ann Hewlett's book provides any real solutions to this or not, the most important achievement of this book is that it heightens awareness to this extremely important issue!
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Format: Hardcover
In a letter to the editor on May 25, 2002,(Women's Choices: The More the Better), Sylvia Ann Hewlett takes umbrage at the characterization in a NY Times front page story of the policy section in her book as "cursory and obligatory" ("The Talk of the Book World Still Can't Sell", 5/20/02). In her letter, she vigorously defends the seriousness of her policy prescriptions and her sincerely feminist intent in offering them, concluding, "At the center of this book is a profoundly feminist message: women deserve generous choices in their lives and should not be called upon to sacrifice either career or children." I'm glad she did. While her prescriptions are as impractical and socialist as only a Harvard-trained economist could dream up, they are indeed serious. Moreover, the reason this is such an important book is that Hewlett's feminist credentials are as impeccable as her research. It would have been dismissed out of hand if it had been written by, for example, Rush Limbaugh. But when Hewlett devotes 3 chapters to such recommendations as eliminating the lack of marginal compensation for long hours (such as occurs when salaried employees are not paid overtime), because it gives advantages to those who spend less time raising children -- ie, men -- she burnishes her bona fides as a solidly socialist feminist. Because of those bona fides we know for sure that she did, as she claims, start out to write a book celebrating the achievements of women, and was indeed surprised when her findings forced her to write one, instead, about their disappointments on the family front.
Perhaps if she rereads it again in a year or two, she will see why no-one is taking her policy prescriptions seriously. She may even see why it's not selling.
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Format: Hardcover
I see all these one star ratings and having read them all I see a common theme here. They all say that the women who make the choice not to have children instinctively feel that way, and should be able to stand up and make their careers work and not be 'brainwashed' or 'pressured' into having children.
But hey, the book is merely indicating that less professional women are having children?..suggesting it could be the chicken or the egg here..either (a) that professional women are not interested in children or that (b) the professional lifestyle hides their underlying desire to have children. They should not assume that women 'just know' whether children are good for them or not. I think it is more than that.
Living in Manahattan, I see and experince first hand the pressure that professional women and men experience. Psychologically, I notice women and men go through different moods according to the working week, and the difference between 'work mood' and 'relax mood' is more distinct than with non-Professionals, or those under less pressure. During these 'work moods' these people are so neurotic and overwhelmed with their careers their sex drive is affected and they also have no time to feel their desire for a natural normal human goal: to create a new life. So, when the career ambitions subside, and they have more time on their hands, they come out of their 'work mood' and realise they have missed out on half of their life goal.
I speak to many women, and every single one of them really does desire a child to nurture..its is natural. I see and hear that every time they are relaxed and have time to think about it.
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Format: Hardcover
Women everywhere are talking about Creating A Life, which exploded into the U.S. media with a controversial and disturbing message: Career women are waiting too long to have children! Despite the uproar it has caused, Sylvia Ann Hewlett's analysis of the situation is actually quite evenhanded, even if she is prone to overgeneralization. Hewlett does not attack childless women - as many have accused - rather, she logically assesses the reasons that so many highly successful women do not have kids. Her prescriptions for the problem of high-achiever childlessness might not win her any friends in feminist camps, but nevertheless, we from getAbstract highly recommend that all professional women (and their husbands or potential husbands) read this book and decide for themselves.
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