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Are Professional Women “Opting Out” of Work by Choice? Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Mar 22nd, 2021


Feminism has continued to promote equal rights for both men and women. This has encompassed employment settings. In fact, it now seeks to achieve equality in home settings. The article explores the validity of a claim by most women that they opt out of work to raise children by choice. However, this has not been possible because of obstacles from workplaces and homes. Additionally, some women have claimed that opting out of jobs happen out of choice. This paper will consider Stone and Hirshman’s arguments on the above issue. It will also perform a critical analysis of the article (Blair-Loy, 2003).

Strengths and weaknesses associated with the Pro side of the issue

Points on opting out of work by choice include the fact that qualified women shy away from elite jobs although they are qualified. This is quite true considering that most women focus on caring for their children once they amass adequate funds to make their loved ones happy. This is proved by Hirshman whose statistics show that most elite women with adequate resources tend to opt out of jobs and stay at home with their children.

Caring for children by choice gives women the fulfillment of caregiving. Additionally, it ensures that they are not pressurized to perform family duties. The mere fact that such women major in liberal arts and evade focus on power and money is an essential attribute to their choice of staying home. In essence, they focus on fulfilling family tasks, which forms their priorities in life. However, this also has its weaknesses, especially for women without a concrete financial base. These women cannot afford to stay at home because they have to fend for their families. Additionally, these points would disadvantage single mothers. For instance, if they choose to stay at home, they will need to find ways of providing for the family on their own (Hirshman, 2006).

Strengths and weaknesses associated with the Con side of the issue

The counterpoints to the issue stress the fact that women opt out of work because of constraints involved at work and at home. This is a strong point because it has been proved that most women have to partake of the responsibility of caring for children by themselves or employing nannies. That is, fathers have neglected their wives when it comes to raising children. Additionally, pressures from jobs have been constrained by women.

For instance, lawyers and accountants, among other professionals have pressing schedules, which cannot accommodate childbearing. It is, therefore, true that women are struggling to balance their time between work and family issues. The weakness associated with this argument seeks to emphasize that most workplaces have tried to tailor jobs that women can do effectively. For instance, teaching is a noble job, which grants women the opportunity to work as well as care for children. This is also possible in caregiving jobs. In essence, women who want to have children should consider jobs that give them the opportunity to care for their children. Nonetheless, this argument diverts from feminism, which wants women to do any job. Therefore, this position also has its disadvantages.

The author I concur with as well as evidence for concurrence

Based on the evidence presented, I concur with Pamela Stone that women do not opt-out of work by choice. However, this may also not be entirely true. Nonetheless, most women do not leave the job out of choice. Interestingly, most women tend to state that they do it out of choice. They do this because they presume it is their duty to care for children. They also do this out of love for their children. Therefore, it becomes difficult for them to acknowledge that it is out of realities or situations on the ground that they leave work.

Additionally, some think that by accepting to do it because of need, they may be considered to be betraying the love for their children. Stone presents numerous pieces of evidence, which shows that women make these decisions out of pressure. For instance, she gives an example of a woman who pressed her boss to allow her to work with another mother on the same job to give her more time with her child but the boss refused. This, among other examples, shows that women love their jobs as well as their children. It now comes to decision making when both need her attention.

Additionally, it should be noted that women love to draw attention. This is usually possible through class and power. This fact alone demeans Hirshman’s argument that women are not concerned with power or money. If this were the case, then most women would happily marry poor men or men that get lower salaries than they get and still work under them. This point adds to Stone’s reasoning that mothers usually find themselves in a difficult situation when both tasks need to be accomplished. I, therefore, concur with Stone that women do not leave jobs by choice (Stone, 2008).

Roles that can be acquired during early and middle adulthood, such as through parenthood, romantic relationships, and career and how these roles have changed in the past generations

Another role that people acquire during early as well as middle adulthood is homemaking. Household chores are usually tasking and sometimes bring issues. The role of males and females in the house usually override. This makes it difficult for families to concur on how roles should be shred. For instance, conservatives believe that mothers should make homes while liberals believe that this should be shared equally between the couple. The other role, which is usually acquired during early and middle adulthood is on masculine and feminine careers. As stated earlier, some jobs have been traditionally considered to be meant for the masculine gender while others have been considered to be meant for the feminine gender.

These include science-related careers like engineering, which usually suit men, according to some theorists. On the other hand, other theorists consider that arts-related careers suit women. These roles have taken different turns over the past generations. For instance, in the past, women used to do household chores entirely, while men used to fend for their needs. However, this has now changed and resources are shared as well as house chores. Additionally, feminism has encouraged women to take on jobs previously left for men the past.

Psychological adjustments made during early and middle adulthood to adapt to aging as well as changes in lifestyle and how they affect the development

Numerous psychological changes take place in humans as they grow into adulthood. These changes range from behaviors to emotions. For instance, as an individual grows from early adulthood to middle adulthood, he/she starts to consider significant reasons for living. For some, they live to be famous, powerful, and wealthy. On the other hand, some live to provide a better future for the coming generations. Alternatively, others live to make better homes for their families.

In this regard, depending on one’s reason for living, they change psychologically to align with their visions. For instance, a mother who is concerned with the future of her children leaves elite jobs to take care of her children. She decides to live a stress-free life within the comfort of her home. Additionally, she desires to be happy with what she does. In the process, irrespective of what causes her to come home, she calls it a personal choice.

These choices and changes in lifestyles have implications for development. For instance, when just 50% of trained women are involved in full-time employment, the market economy is reduced. That is, careers are wasted, which results in wastage of resources. Essentially, psychological adjustments lead to significant implications for development (Percheski, 2008).


Almost every woman tends to claim to have chosen to stay at home. However, this is not usually true. Most women are faced with serious dilemmas between raising children and working. Moreover, feminism has introduced them to jobs, which do not give them adequate time to care for children. Consequently, they are forced to quit, a decision that places serious implications on the economic market. Based on the two authors’ evidence, women opt out of work due to the dilemmas they encounter. This is evident in the way women try to attend to both needs. Ultimately, psychological adjustments influence these changes.


Blair-Loy, M. (2003). Competing Devotions: Career and Family among Women Executives. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Hirshman, L.R. (2006). Get to Work: A Manifesto for Women of the World. New York City, NY: Viking Adult.

Percheski, C. (2008). Opting Out? Cohort Differences in Professional Women’s Employment Rates from 1960 to 2005. American Sociological Review, 73(3), 497-517.

Stone, P. (2008). Opting Out: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home. California, CA: University of California Press.

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