Working Mothers: Who's Opting Out?

E.J. Graff, institute senior researcher, organized and moderated the panel "Working Mothers: Who's Opting Out?"  on October 16, 2007, at The New School in New York City. The "opt-out" storyline says that a great swath of working mothers in this country are either bolting the career track or dreaming of doing so.

What's truth and what's fiction? Our all-star panelists had been debating this subject with each other in print and pixelsin academic studies, in the popular press, and on the Web. At this event, they discussed and debated in person for the first time: law professor Joan Williams, author Linda Hirshman, economist Heather Boushey, and activist Ellen Bravo.

>> See a video of the event

>> See a follow-up discussion on

Suggested Readings by Panelists

Heather Boushey
Center for Economic Policy Research bio page. Includes links to a cornucopia of her writing.
“Mommies Opting Out: The Myth That Won’t Die,” Alternet, June 9, 2007.

Ellen Bravo
Taking on the Big Boys, The Feminist Press, 2007.
• MultiState Working Families Consortium, "Family Values at Work: It's About Time! Why We Need Minimum Standards to Ensure a Family-Friendly Workplace," 2007.

Linda Hirshman
Get To Work Web site.
Get To Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World, 2006, now in paperback from Penguin.
• “Homeward Bound,The American Prospect, November 21, 2005.

Joan Williams
• The Web site of the Center for WorkLife Law
• “ ‘Opt Out’ or Pushed Out?' How the Press Covers Work/Family Conflict, 2006 (PDF)