In the current debates on work and family, people of all generations are calling for a reasoned, thoughtful, research-driven contribution to the discussion. In Baby Bust, Stew Friedman offers just that: an astute assessment of how far we have come and where we need to go from here. The book is based on a groundbreaking cross-generational study reveals both greater freedom and new constraints for men and women in their work and family lives.
Stew Friedman, founding director of The Wharton School’s Work/Life Integration Project, studied two generations of Wharton college students as they graduated: Gen Xers in 1992 and Millennials in 2012. The cross-generational, longitudinal study produced a stark discovery – the rate of graduates who plan to have children has dropped by nearly half over the past 20 years. At the same time, men and women are now more aligned in their attitudes about dual-career relationships, and they are opting out of parenthood in equal proportions. But their reasons for doing so are quite different.
In Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family, Friedman draws on this historical research to explain why so many young people are not planning to become parents. He reveals good news, that there is a greater freedom of choice now, and bad, that new constraints are limiting people’s options. In light of these present realities, he offers practical ideas for what we can do as a society, in our organizations, and for ourselves to make it easier for men and women to choose the lives they want.
In this highly readable narrative that brings important research to life, Friedman addresses:
What a wonderful book. A succinct and invaluable read for managers, politicians, and all men and women seeking to better understand how the world is changing and to support greater freedom of choice.Ann-Marie Slaughter, President and CEO, New America Foundation
Friedman stands out. He understands better than anyone else how leadership, life, and business can fit together.Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America Foundation
Baby Bust, based on Stew Friedman’s new groundbreaking study, documents the tremendous progress men and women have made in integrating work and life. Friedman’s insights and recommendations have generated thoughtful discussions in my household (two entrepreneurs with a young child). This is an essential read for business leaders who want to create an egalitarian workplace and contribute to the revolution in work and family choices.Neil Blumenthal, founder and CEO, Warby Parker
Stew Friedman’s Baby Bust is a wake-up call for business. The lack of strong business and public support for the positive enactment of caregiving, breadwinning, and career advancement has redefined what employees see as possible in their lives. The future economic health and well-being of the U.S. may be at risk. This eye-opening study raises the critical questions and provides practical ideas for change.Dr. Ellen Ernst Kossek, Basil S. Turner Professor of Management, Purdue University
Provocative and practical, Stew Friedman’s Baby Bust draws on his landmark study to document the metamorphosis in men’s and women’s views and expectations for work and family. As more women are leaning in to their careers, more men today want to be actively engaged in fatherhood. But both see conflicts between work and family life that are increasingly keeping them from choosing to be parents. Revelatory and rigorous, this urgent call to action is required reading for anyone who wants both men and women to be able to choose the world they want to live in.John Gerzema, Author, The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future
Important data and fascinating insights about the revolution we are experiencing in work and family. A must-read for anyone seeking to better understand how the world is changing and what new models will require.Leslie A. Perlow, Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Leadership, Harvard Business School
Stew Friedman’s unique cross-generational study finds both a triumphant new freedom for men and women and, at the same time, an indication of the deep conflicts between what we value and the lives to which we aspire. Baby Bust is a game-changing addition to the literature on work and family. Stew clearly and compassionately tells the story from the perspective of both men and women, echoing the challenges we all face as we seek to do meaningful work and have a meaningful life in today’s frenetic and tumultuous world.Brad Harrington, Executive Director, Boston College Center for Work and Family
Stew Friedman has always been a trailblazer, and he has done it again! A must-read for everyone—employees, employers, and families—so that we can be much more intentional in creating the workplaces and family lives of the future.Ellen Galinsky, President, Families and Work Institute, and Author, Mind in the Making
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