Linda Hirshman

Linda R. Hirshman retired as the Allen/Berenson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Brandeis University. With almost no effort, she landed spot No. 77 on Bernard Goldberg's 100 People Who Are Screwing Up America. She is the author of Get to Work ... And Get a Life Before It's Too Late, in paperback May 28.

Recent Articles

Bumpy Ride

Beware of the "on ramp" myth. The road back to a full-time career after taking time off to raise kids is far from smooth.

Leslie Morgan Steiner has good news for the playground set. "Back in Business!" she proclaims in this month's MORE magazine. After as long as ten years away, "[d]ozens of women across the country," she tells us, are able to get back in to the workplace with just a few weeks of effort. The chipper article is illustrated by a picture of a barefoot dipping into a pool and turning up with a high heel on. Morgan Steiner, editor of the Mommy Wars anthology, goes on to cheerily report that dropping out of the workforce to raise kids "does not spell the end of a great career." She recounts the tale of Bonnie Landes Beer, who admits, "I had to confront the reality that years of volunteering at my kids' school and managing our household budget were meaningless in the work world." But, that doesn't hold her back from jumping back in the corporate fast-track. It takes her only a few weeks to land a consulting job, which she soon turns into a full-time job, and then a corporate vice-presidency...

What a Load

In the discussion about achieving work/life balance, men are getting a free pass.

A mommyblogger recently wrote that she'd find my advice to " get to work " a lot easier to take if I were an economist. Where does a mere philosopher get off telling people how to lead their lives, she asked. I thought this was hilarious until I read the " Mother Load " special report that featured nationally noted family researchers, mental health and social work practitioners, and clinicians. Oh, for a little of the dismal science. The report would be funny if it were not so dangerous. "Mother Load" contains all the explanation you'll ever need for why women are opting out. And they are. (As I've written elsewhere , the opt-out phenomenon is both deeper and broader than previously reported.) The pieces in the "Mother Load" report laud efforts to make the workplace more "family-friendly." But real change will not be effected by fighting for reform at the corporate level. Ellen Bravo tells us "we need to redesign the national household." I wonder, who is this "we"? It's the husbands,...

OF COURSE I...

OF COURSE I THINK THE MEN SHOULD STAY HOME WITH THE BABIES. But just in case the guys are too busy and are thinking of using a little outside help, this week, New York Times business columnist David Leonhardt trumpeted the results of a 2005 economics study of Canadian child care, which concluded that �across almost everything we looked at, the policy led to much worse outcomes for kids.� Leonhardt fails to mention that the study, which was promoted by the ultra-conservative C.D. Howe Institute , was immediately and heavily challenged (PDF) by the child development experts at the University of British Columbia�s Human Early Learning Partnership , Drs. Hillel Goelman , David Kershaw and Clyde Hertzman , who objected to results on the grounds that they were inconsistent with all other analysis, included no longitudinal data about the children, and most importantly did not include data on the quality of child care provided. As these real experts note, no peer-reviewed child development...

LARRY AND ME....

LARRY AND ME. As my time guest-blogging at TAP begins to draw to a close and as someone who�s had a fair amount of attention in the blogosphere lately, I want to say that the level of the comments here is pretty impressive. Now it would not be hard to be more rational and literate than much of what goes on amongst the mommy-bloggers (see the recent eruption of �Linda! Vomit!� on the ABC news website after I appeared in the second hour of Good Morning America yesterday to suggest that people might want to read my new book ). But evidence of the occasional quality of the commentary here is that one particular comment to my piece on David Brooks � Sunday �eeew, Jane Eyre � column picked something up that no one has noticed, even though it has been in plain view for months. That is, much of what I say on behalf of working women and much of what Harvard ex-President Larry Summers says sound the same. As the commenter cleverly laid it out : Feminist Linda Hirshman, in TAP: "Even the most...

DAVID BROOKS MAKES...

DAVID BROOKS MAKES MY DAY. AGAIN. Just one day before my book exhorting women to aspire to full humanity is due in the bookstores, my favorite conservative , David Brooks , came right out and said it in the op-ed pages of The New York Times . Forget being part of humanity, girls. Women are a different species. What makes humans human, above all things, is, of course, our brains. Well, according to Brooks, the results, which most serious scholars are still debating , are in. Women have different brains. They read junk. They snivel. They even smell differently. Just for a little perspective here, remember that the idea that humans have different kinds of brains is not new. When the IQ test was first developed, the people involved thought that Jews had inherently inferior brains, and that the country was in big trouble because too many of these �other� people were coming into the country. Brooks� bad news for today is that too many of the inferior species are coming into the colleges...

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