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The XX Factor: How Working Women are Creating a New Society (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 25. April 2013


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An exhilarating piece of analysis that explains once and for all why educated women have done so well and why they have become a class apart. Just when you thought you never wanted to read another word on working woman, here comes Alison Wolf -- Lucy Kellaway Alison Wolf's skill is to use facts where others have only opinions. The results will infuriate and stimulate almost every reader -- John Kay Powerful, brilliantly argued, provocative and original - an outstanding book from a compelling thinker -- Tim Harford, author of THE UNDERCOVER ECONOMIST and ADAPT Wolf has written an exhaustive, intelligent, thoughtful and at times provocative and idiosyncratic analysis of what it is to be an elite woman. By laying out the choices that women are faced with and the consequences of their actions, Wolf is ensuring that we do not have to walk blindfold into the future. -- The Financial Times A crucial bible for anyone wanting to check up on anything about contemporary woman. -- Observer Full of such factual richness... The XX Factor is a feast of data. -- The Sunday Times Alison Wolf has made a brilliant, lucid, and original contribution to the debate about women and the modern economy. If you care about women, work and families in the world today, you must read this passionate, fact-filled book. -- Chrystia Freeland, author of Plutocrats Just when you thought you never wanted to read another word on working woman, here comes Alison Wolf sweeping away the sloppy prejudices and dreary whining, presenting us with some bracing facts. The XX Factor is an exhilarating piece of analysis that explains once and for all why educated women have done so well (though will never be 50:50 in the boardroom) and why they have become a class apart to the other four fifths. Cheering and sobering by turns, it puts to shame almost every other book that has been written on this subject -- Lucy Kellaway Highly readable and informative -- Paul Seabright Times Literary Supplement The book is fascinating and there is plenty of food for thought within it -- Henrietta Royle Management Today Engagingly written ... has a light touch and is full of personal anecdotes, but it is also well footnoted, with a scholar's careful attention to sources -- Sylvia Walby Times Higher Education Supplement An exhaustive, provocative analysis -- Lynda Gratton, London Business School Financial Times Summer Reading With the XX Factor Wolf accomplishes a rare feat: she combines real breadth with real depth. No matter how much you think you know about this hotly debated subject, and whether or not you agree with every one of Wolf's ideas, you will come away from her book with new information - some merely amusing, but some foundation-shaking New York Times Book Review

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Alison Wolf is the Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management at King's College London and sits in the House of Lords as a crossbench peer (Baroness Wolf of Dulwich). She writes widely for the national press and for a number of think-tanks; directs a Masters degree in public policy and management; and is chair of governors for King's College London Mathematics School, a specialist state school which opened in 2014.

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Amazon.com: HASH(0x96d70f90) von 5 Sternen 58 Rezensionen
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HASH(0x97d27108) von 5 Sternen A Pleasantly Surprising Bait and Switch 20. August 2013
Von Indoctorinated - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Odds are good that, if you are reading this review and considering whether to buy this book, you will probably find it interesting. After all, this book is almost certainly about you (or your wife/sister/daughter): an educated woman with at least a college degree. And how can you not have your interest piqued by the byline "How the Rise of Working Women Has Created a Far Less Equal World?"

It turns out that the author does a bit of a bait and switch on us. Her argument is not that there is less equality between women and MEN because of women working, but rather that there is now an equality gap between the top quintile of educated, professional women and other WOMEN who do not fall into this group. (Just to clarify the reviews of those who commented that the book is about "elite" women rather than "working" women: it is these highly educated professional women who are the working women that the author is discussing. She is not referring to working class women.)

You can think of this book as "Sexual Behavior in the Human Female" by Alfred Kinsey meets "The New Victorians" by Rene Denfeld. It is well written and covers a spectrum of taboo yet titillating topics like women's sexual practices, gender salary differences, and classism as a wedge among different groups of women. Even though it wasn't what I initially expected (i.e., about inequality between men and women), in a way, it was better than I expected. This is not yet another tired argument about how men are keeping women down. In fact, the book's thesis about the similarity of elite women to elite men, as opposed to elite women's differences from other women, resonates with my experience as a physician who works with such professional women on a daily basis. I'm pleasantly surprised that I can feel good about recommending this book to others.
18 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9717e2f4) von 5 Sternen Solid Research With Strong Limitations 20. August 2013
Von Kevin L. Nenstiel - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Women's roles have changed. We can look around and know that. But that doesn't make those changes obvious. Even more, while social leaders debate whether those changes have been beneficial, they certainly have costs that even the most strident detractor hasn't noticed. British labor researcher Alison Wolf has analyzed the data, and pulls conclusions that both feminists and traditionalists will find surprising.

Feminists have made much about whether women have equal work opportunity, equal pay, and equal hope of advancement in society. Wolf answers: it depends. Indeed, a great deal depends on your perspective. That's because advancements in opportunities available to women have opened a massive gulf between highly educated, economically high-achieving women in the top fifth of wage earners, and everyone else.

Wolf asserts that women in the top quintile enjoy remarkable opportunity, equality, and autonomy, Steinem-era feminist promises made manifest. Indeed, because women are generally better prepared for college at the traditional age, and education (generally) correlates with economic advancement, a generation of highly prepared women may inherit society's pinnacle. The old boy network may inhibit top-achieving women, but the operative word today is "old."

The other four-fifths of women face economic pressures to work, but remain in a heavily segregated workforce. Despite some high-profile women truckers and cops, most working women continue doing, for pay, jobs they would do for free at home, like nursing, housekeeping, or child care. And economic impediments mean most women can't cross the gap between the bottom four-fifths and the top.

These gaps have broad, unexpected consequences. Top-achieving women more often postpone getting married and having children, sometimes postponing them altogether (usually unintentionally). If they do have kids, they often farm child-rearing responsibilities to hired help. The recent rise of extreme wealth in certain sectors has led, Wolf says, to a reemergence of formerly dying servant jobs. Poor women's opportunities less resemble their mothers' lives than their great-grandmothers'.

Some of what Wolf describes could encompass general society. The widening gap between high-achieving professionals and the middle and lower classes, for instance, requires expensive, time-consuming credentials to cross, regardless of sex. But Wolf describes other ramifications that drive wedges between populations of women that were former allies. The "sisterhood" beloved by feminist leaders seems increasingly like a naïve vestige of bygone days.

Much as I appreciate Dr. Wolf's analysis of the present, she contrasts it to an overly romanticized past. Women formerly, Wolf claims, were unified across class, race, and nationality in social pressures. All women were expected, someday, to marry and have children; even highly educated women from wealthy backgrounds would necessarily stop working eventually and assume the wife and mother role.

But did they really? Second-wave feminist leaders, who were preponderantly white and Jewish, initially met serious serious setbacks when they discovered that Black women had their own unique needs. And those same feminist leaders were originally hostile to lesbians, prompting angry defections from early supporters like Rita Mae Brown. One starts to suspect that women weren't nearly as unified as Wolf presents.

Similarly, Wolf never quite sheds her geographical blinders. Though the statistics she cites compile women's situations across regions, and frequently across national borders, she supplements these stats with interviews with high-skilled professional women, mostly women in her own network. As a professor at King's College London, Wolf's net primarily falls, unsurprisingly, across London and Manhattan.

Your typical Brit visiting America never ventures outside Manhattan and San Francisco. And your typical American visiting Britain never leaves London and the Lake District. But women (people, really) in rural areas like the American prairie or the Scottish Border region have categorically different opportunities. Prairie girls may become doctors and lawyers, but almost certainly lack the connections to become lucrative financial managers.

When Wolf divides women into quintiles, the women in the top fifth are substantially concentrated in large coastal cities. Manhattan makes a good example: the exodus of manufacturing from the American Northeast has left NYC with perpetually impoverished service industry workers, fabulously wealthy financial managers--and nothing in between. Bill Moyers quotes Nickolay Lamm that Manhattan has become a portrait of uncrossable extremes.

Notwithstanding these limitations, Wolf's book does make a valuable contribution to a balanced library. Readers willing to think critically can mine her study for information, in which it is awash. Just remember to test what she writes against what you already know, or what you're willing to learn. Society is changing, and that includes gender roles. Wolf gives us valuable tools to stay ahead of that change.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x972711f8) von 5 Sternen An attempt to compare and contrast different classes of women across the US and the UK, however used non-comparable surveys 22. November 2013
Von Jeri Zerr - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
The XX Factor is written by a member of the (elite) "working woman" class about the (elite) "working woman" class of professionals. I am a woman with a college degree who focused in non-traditional fields of study. I and many others have carved out our own paths in life and hence do not fit many of the assumptions and "findings" of Alison Wolf's analysis of the research studies. The trouble is, I know many other women who also do not begin to follow the roles as defined by the author, but they are the women working in "non-elite" positions or staying at home raising their children. Or very often, raising children while working in "non-elite" professions.

The author writes about what she knows, a more elite class of women and their sexual practices - or lack thereof. Her research is based solely on surveys and studies in two distinct countries (the US and the UK) with often differing survey questions with differing categories, then tries to compare and contrast the non-comparable categories.

The XX Factor is an interesting read - of the class of (elite) working women. However analyzing vastly differing surveys that were not designed similarly only serves to misconstrue the "findings" as factual information, hence the results which are the basis of her research are not accurate portrayal of (elite) working women, let alone all classes of working women as a whole.
12 von 16 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x9717e258) von 5 Sternen Uneven 19. September 2013
Von Dunyazad - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
At one point I missed my subway stop while engrossed in this book. At another point I set it down for two weeks because it just wasn't holding my attention. I think the reason for this variation is that the book consists more of isolated chapters related to a general theme, rather than building increasingly on the same argument. It's a varied collection, and some of the chapters are more interesting than others. The author mentions at one point that the book started out as an article, and the chapter that was at the heart of that article, about how limited opportunities for women in the past meant that all the smartest women became teachers just because there were no other options, was one of the most compelling.

One of my main problems with some of the other chapters was that Wolf often didn't have anything new to say, but just summarized and quoted other authors. If you've read other books on these topics, you won't find that Wolf has much to add. For example, I enjoyed Marina Adshade's Dollars and Sex, and so I didn't find much that I hadn't heard before in Wolf's chapter on "Sex and the Single Graduate". There's not always a lot of analysis; we encounter statements like "The data don't tell us why.... But the difference is significant and sizeable." I appreciate the academic honesty, but it would have been more interesting if Wolf had been bold enough to offer her own hypothesis about causes.

Even worse, the quick sampling of data from different places led at times to some very strange statements that I felt should have been explained further. At one point, talking about how women can more easily become rich in places where an abundance of cheap labour allows them to hire servants for everything, she says that most of the world's self-made female billionaires are Chinese. She talks a fair bit about China, but also about the developing world in general, and emphasizes the importance of different values than existed when the Western world was developing, especially with regards to female education. And in this discussion, she mentions in passing a woman from Saudi Arabia, "the first woman to head a Middle Eastern bank, and one that she co-founded". The only other mention of women in Saudi Arabia has been that they'll get the vote in 2015 and still aren't allowed to drive, but suddenly they're being presented as an example of how much farther along women are there compared to Britain 200 years ago. And there's no other mention of this country at all. I found it incredibly frustrating to have only these two sentences, because it wasn't nearly enough to get even a remote understanding of what things are like for women in Saudi Arabia.

Finally, when Wolf does present her own thoughts, they often come off as the annoying humble-brags of the overprivileged. She explains at one point how she doesn't have time to tend to her garden, so everyone suggests that she just hire a gardener. But, she laments, good help is so hard to find! It would take just as long to choose a satisfactory gardener as it would to do it herself. Similarly, she recounts a conversation with one of her friends, someone who "managed to combine looking elegant at any time of day or night with three children, an impeccable home and a full-time, ongoing semi-political career." When Wolf said that she looked fabulous, she responded, "Well, I guess I should. The amount I'm paying my colourist, I could fund a preschool programme."

Wolf constantly emphasizes the difference between the top 20% of educated women and "the rest", but I felt like she was actually talking about an even smaller group of elites. She does say at one point that academics are the one exception to the focus on appearance among professional women, but I still found that my experiences were vastly different from hers. She doesn't seem to know anyone who isn't wealthy and successful, and it shows in statements like the one she repeatedly makes about how professional women are less likely to give up their careers because they actually enjoy their work, in apparent contrast to all the traditional women. On average, this might be true, but her dismissive tone suggested that no one at all could derive pleasure from a traditional female position. I wasn't even sure where she was drawing the line here: do the traditional nurturing women's jobs include things like elementary school teachers and nurses? On the one hand, I'd expect those people to have an above-average education, but on the other hand, they aren't exactly the high-fliers that Wolf generally seems to reference in her examples. The contrast between "elite" women and "average" women was less convincing when it wasn't even clear who the "average" woman was supposed to be.

Ultimately, I can't say that I enjoyed this book, despite finding some parts of it compelling. There wasn't always enough clarity; implications were sometimes not sufficiently supported; the analysis didn't go into enough depth; and the author's voice was often irritating. Rather than being eye-opening, I found it mostly discouraging. Surely the difference between success and failure isn't as stark as Wolf makes it out to be; I hope I can still have a good life despite not owning the expensive clothing that Wolf quotes the Financial Times' fashion editor as saying is well worth the price. Perhaps women in the top 5% of the socio-economic spectrum might be reassured to hear about how good their lives are and how different they are from everyone else, but Wolf claims that her book is about the top 20% of educated women. And even though I have the education, I didn't feel that this book was remotely about me.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
HASH(0x97271204) von 5 Sternen The XX Factor 26. November 2013
Von Brendan Moody - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe Vine Kundenrezension eines kostenfreien Produkts ( Was ist das? )
Alison Wolf makes a strong, statistically rich argument that women have achieved near parity in elite professional occupations, and that this has led to marked changes in the lives and behaviors of professionals of both genders: elites marry later and less often and have children later and less often. Most of the numbers are wisely relegated to footnotes, but this is still a factually dense book, and more descriptive than analytical, though Wolf does offer hypotheses about certain interesting trends; her discussion of "costly signaling" and high-flying couture is especially striking, and suggests much about the performative aspects of managerial work. The book's subtitle is odd; while Wolf does acknowledge a relationship between the rise of female professionals and the contemporary increase in inequality, the emphasis is (reasonably enough) far more on the benefits of women's gains than on their negative consequences for a society increasingly driven by elite nepotism and cold-hearted market logic. Whatever Wolf's focus, the data she presents are fascinating, and will offer much food for thought to those interested in gender, class, and the nature of employment in the twentieth century.
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