For Our Daughters: How Outstanding Women Worldwide Have Balanced Home and Career

For Our Daughters: How Outstanding Women Worldwide Have Balanced Home and Career

For Our Daughters: How Outstanding Women Worldwide Have Balanced Home and Career

For Our Daughters: How Outstanding Women Worldwide Have Balanced Home and Career

Synopsis

This unique social history spans the last half century, when developments in birth control and the education of women have increased opportunities for women to have successful careers. This book investigates how the first generation of modern women faced the challenge of combining marriage and family with professional responsibilities. Olivia Cox-Fill, an Irish journalist and professional filmmaker, interviewed hundreds of prominent women from 10 different countries on three continents before presenting this group portrait of 29 interviews of women leaders, diplomats, award-winning scientists, government ministers, doctors, and industrialists, to name a few of the professions represented.

Excerpt

A bout ten years ago, I overhead a group of middle school students talking about what they'd be when they grew up. They were a typical American ethnic mix from privileged backgrounds attending an independent school in Princeton, New Jersey. I'd served on their Board for five years and knew from my own experience the difficulty they would have in realizing their dreams. It was their conversation that inspired this book: "I'll become a vet and have two children," announced one girl, while another said, "I'd like to have three, but I want to be an astronaut."

By showing how women have managed career and family in this country as well as in other societies against even greater odds, I hoped to inspire young women everywhere to take advantage of the opportunities available to them. I also thought accounts of how women have forged careers in traditionally male enterprises without sacrificing rich family lives would help young women today to anticipate the pitfalls and give them courage and guidance along the way.

The places where I had most recently lived and worked seemed an obvious starting point. Based in Hong Kong, I had worked with American and Chinese women for several years and had noticed how their sense of self differed, in both their appearance and conversation. I wanted to see what lay behind these differences. Also, I had become especially interested in women's rights since I first volunteered at the UN during International Women's Year in 1975.

During the early 1970s before going to live in Asia, I had studied the history and literature of India, China, and Japan. I had visited these countries a number of times and was intrigued by what women's lives were like in these different cultures. I have included them in this book because they present such a contrast to the Western cultures in which I grew up.

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