New book challenges preconceived notions about women and work

October 10, 2011

Sarah Damaske, assistant professor of labor studies and of employment relations and sociology at Penn State, has written a new book, titled "For the Family? How Class and Gender Shape Women's Work." The book was published Oct. 3 by Oxford University Press.


In the highly emotional public debate about women and work, conventional wisdom holds that middle-class women “choose” whether or not to work, while working class women “need” to work. Yet, despite the recent economic crisis, national trends show that middle-class women are more likely to work than working class women. In the book, Damaske shares original, ground-breaking research that unravels the tangled political and cultural strands that have tied women up in the stay-at-home mom/working mother debate for the past 30 years.

Based on research with 80 women across a spectrum of race and class, Damaske's book reveals a surprising finding that debunks the myth that financial needs determine women’s workforce participation: financial resources make it easier for women to remain at work, not easier to leave it.


  • IMAGE: Penn State
Last Updated January 09, 2015