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October 22, 2009

A Woman's Nation?

Shriver cover

Maria Shriver, the Center for American Progress and NBC have been having a party, of sorts, with the launch and roll-out of The Shriver Report: A Woman's Nation Changes Everything. The gist of the report is this -- now that women officially make up half of the American work force, that's bound to help things change for us in terms of work/life balance, equal pay and how we as families negotiate family and work obligations.

The report contends that things are getting easier for women because more men are willing to chip in with the housework and husbands are increasingly viewing their wives differently because of their bread-winning obligations.

We should have more power because our numbers in the workforce are rising and we're the ones who make 80% of the big ticket money decisions in our homes.  But does all that translate into real change in the workplace? 

Don't get me wrong -- I am one happy camper if my husband does the laundry or makes dinner.  But given our respective jobs, I'm the one who's home more and so I do more of the housework.  But if I went back to an office, I'm not sure that things would be different or that an office setting would be any more flexible in terms of taking time off to care for a sick child or to care for myself if I get the flu than they were when I walked out of my "real" office for last time eight years ago.

I still have to sit down and read the whole report, though at 400 pages I'm not sure exactly how long it will take me!  I want to be excited about our nation becoming more woman and mom friendly, but how do we take our status as family breadwinners and turn it into change in the workplace for everyone?

When she's done reading the Shriver Report, you can also find Joanne at her place, PunditMom, The Huffington Post and BlogHer.

Original 50-something Moms blog post.

Photo courtesy of the Center for American Progress.