The XX Factor: How the Rise of the Working Woman Has Created a Far Less Equal World

Alison Wolf. Crown, $26 (416p) ISBN 978-0-307-59042-8
In this provocative and vital new book, British economist Wolf (Does Education Matter?) addresses the “widening gap” between highly educated professional women and less-educated working women. The consequences of this gap run deep. Education affects whether women have children, how many they have, and at what age they have them; how early they have sex; how likely they are to divorce; and, critically, how much money they earn. The book’s first section addresses women in the workforce and covers higher education and money (including the return of the servant classes, without which “elite women’s employment would splutter and stall”); the second addresses the domestic sphere, including sexual behavior (“With the Pill everything changed”). While the book focuses on British and American women’s lives, Wolf’s cross-cultural view traverses the globe (she discusses China, India, France, Sweden, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, to name a few, but not sub-Saharan Africa); nor are men absent from her analyses. Accessibly written and enlivened with anecdotes and interviews, Wolf’s research is thoroughly documented and features uncommonly informative footnotes and helpful graphs. Her assessment of how things have changed since the time when “marriage was women’s main objective and main career” and the ways in which “the modern workplace detaches our female elites from both history and the rest of female-kind” will yield productive controversy. Agent: Zoë Pagnamenta, Zoë Pagnamenta Agency. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/05/2013
Genre: Nonfiction
Ebook - 753 pages - 978-1-84765-448-9
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-84668-403-6
Hardcover - 416 pages - 978-0-307-59040-4
Hardcover - 416 pages - 978-0-670-06477-9
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