"Kidding Ourselves: Breadwinning, Babies, and Bargaining Power"
(BasicBooks: New York, 1995)
by Rhona Mahony


Why do most women end up with nearly sole responsibility for raising their children? Why does it happen even in couples who had promised to share that work equally? This book traces the decisions that women and men make--usually unwittingly--that lead to an old-fashioned division of labor at home. It also explains why change is necessary. As long as nearly all men devote themselves mainly to paying work, they will stay far ahead of women in earnings, achievement on the job, and leadership. We are kidding ourselves as long as we believe otherwise.

This book is the first to apply game-theoretic ideas about negotiation to women's predicament. Readers struggling to make their family lives more fair--along with scholars and activists--will learn practical skills. The book proposes concrete steps that we can take to bring about a future in which the sexual division of labor has melted away. That will happen when half the primary parents are men and half are women. The book is filled with examples from recent social science research, nontraditional families whom I interviewed, literature, and the movies. It describes in detail how we can bring about that transformation.

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(c)Rhona Mahony:rmahony AT stanford DOT edu