When Lisa Belkin dies, her obituary will likely mention how she was responsible for reporting on "the opt-out revolution," also known as the eight-person phenomena that spawned stories on how today's co-eds are looking for their Mrs. degrees and counter-arguments from people who pointed out, correctly, that eight professional-class women hardly represented the entire ovaried class.
I don't know if her obituary will mention that subsequent studies have shown how opting out is not voluntary:
"Most mothers do not opt out," says Joan Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings. "They are pushed out by workplace inflexibility, the lack of supports, and a workplace bias against mothers." In one recent survey, 86 percent of women cited obstacles such as inflexible jobs as a key reason behind their decision to leave.
-- "The Truth Behind Women 'Opting Out,'" CSM, Oct 30, 06
There is a table that accompanies the article, in which the Pew Center for Worklife Law details all the ways in which women tried to balance working and child-rearing. Thirty-eight percent take positions they're overqualified for; 16% decline promotions.
There is no accompanying data table for the steps men take to balance working and child-rearing. This bothers me. Last time I checked, human children were not born of parthenogenesis. Balancing family life and working life should be a human issue, not a female issue. Really:
(Sherry Sullivan reported) "(M)en were afraid that if they used paternity leave they'd be taken off the fast track. Some men told us that if they talked about taking a paternity leave, their colleagues made fun of them and said, 'That's what you have a wife for.' "
Insert your own speculation as to the state of those piggy colleagues' marriages below.