Managing Lives: Corporate Women and Social Change

Managing Lives: Corporate Women and Social Change

Managing Lives: Corporate Women and Social Change

Managing Lives: Corporate Women and Social Change

Synopsis

Much has been written about the purported differences between female and male psychology, and even the notion of a separate lower-paid, low-pressure Mommy Track in corporations. But what have been the actual experiences of women in the business world, pursuing careers formerly filled by men? How have women viewed their personal and professional development? This book addresses these issues. Making extensive use of interviews, Sue J.M. Freeman interweaves testimony from 40 women in management positions who speak candidly about their lives, the challenges of their careers, and their changing conceptions of themselves.

Excerpt

Are women who have assumed what had been men's roles in our society playacting? Do their daily pursuits contradict their true natures as females? Or has women's psychological nature been misapprehended? Is it possible that, psychologically, women resemble men as much as they do one another? Could it be that social change has produced a blending of gender roles that cannot be adequately accommodated within existing social structures?

The experience of corporate women can instruct us about gender and about the interaction between individual development and social change. The psychology of corporate women seems particularly pertinent to questions of male-female difference, since these women operate primarily in what has been and continues to be "a man's world." That women can and, moreover, want to occupy this formerly male preserve has dramatically altered conventional understandings of what women are about.

The traditional view of females as emotional caretakers was clear-cut and allowed a simple understanding of female identity and life path. More recent notions of females as both caretakers and executives are more complicated and difficult for some to accept. Examination of the literature on psychological development reveals a struggle between these conflicting ideas. Findings that males and females might be more alike than different, particularly when they function in the same pro-

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