By: Cindy Chang Mahlberg, originally posted at the Center for Faith & Work.
A decade ago, The New York Times Magazine coined the idea of The Opt-Out Revolution to describe the phenomenon of highly-educated career women who opted-out of the workforce to focus on raising their children. Last week, the magazine published another feature story entitled The Opt-Out Generation Wants Back In, revisiting some of the previously featured women and highlighting not-so-fairytale endings of divorce and work-force reentries to less prestigious and lower-paying positions. Through the stories of various women, the article delves into the ramifications of opting-out, including personal struggles with identity and sense of self-worth, marital dynamics that shifted from professional parity to gender-role traditionalism, and cumulative financial loss. While none of the women expressed desire to return to their pre-opting out jobs, even amongst the women who successfully navigated opting out with marriages in tact, healthy family lives, and meaningful work outside the home (whether paid or on a volunteer basis), there were inevitably disappointments and tradeoffs such as less quality time with their spouses.
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