Sex, Career and Family: Including An International Review of Women's Roles

By Michael P. Fogarty; Rhona Rapoport et al. | Go to book overview

Foreword
Are Women a Special Problem?

The terms of reference underlying this report are concerned with women, and in particular women and top jobs: how to get more of the former into the latter. As the study developed it extended not only to women in top jobs but to women's opportunities in professional and managerial work at graduate level generally. It also focused increasingly--and this is the point the research team wish to emphasize in this Foreword--on the general pattern of relationships between men and women. Limitations of time and material have prevented the team from following out this approach as fully as they would have wished or as the title of the report implies. At a number of points this report will still give the impression of dealing with a 'women's question'. But the need to lay equal stress on rethinking the roles of men and women, not those of women alone, is a key part of the message which the team would like to convey. The case for careers for highly qualified women at a level commensurate with their abilities, and on an equal footing with men, can be argued on several grounds: personal interest and family need, civil rights, or, more cold-bloodedly, the need of the economy to use its biggest reserve of untapped ability. Whatever the ground of the argument chosen, if there is to be movement in this direction, it is necessary not only to develop woman's own occupational competence and to break the barriers of discrimination, but also to work out new attitudes and relationships between men and women in the family as well as in working life.

The research team's assumptions and conclusions on how to go about this are set out in the chapters that follow, especially in Chapters I, V and XIII. It will be noticed that the team has paid particular attention to 'dual-career' families as defined in Chapter IX. It is not the team's intention to set up these families as a unique or universal model to which all should conform. The team's own view is pluralistic. Many different patterns of family and working life are likely always to be needed to fit different talents and inclinations, and

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