In Reshaping the Work-Family Debate, Joan Williams discusses many different social changes that are necessary for our nation to move forward with gender equality in the workplace. One of Williams’ suggestions is the political and cultural change that would allow for the “missing middle” class to become recognized. She describes the “missing middle” as a broad group that consist of working class people and upper-class middle who don’t like to think of themselves as the poor, working class. However, this is the largest group in America and tends to get skipped over, as the elite, upper class groups are the ones making the policies and the lower class is the class typically being examined by those making the policies. (Williams, 156)
Another social change that has been suggested can be found in Pamela Stone’s Opting Out? Stone suggests that rather than implementing leave policies for women, they implement “stay policies.” This would encourage women to come back to work after spending time with their children rather than quitting or “opting out” of the work force after they leave. These new policies would feature more flexibility in both work time and place. It also would not just be for women, and would allow for more long-term flexibility, where leave policies are very short term. (Stone, 224)
Kathleen Gerson’s The Unfinished Revolution discusses more cultural changes that are necessary for gender in the work place. Many of the young adults she interviewed discussed moving towards new outlooks regarding both work and family, which would allow for gender equality in both the workplace and the home. Many women declared outlooks of self-reliance, as a fallback. Claiming they want to be able to support themselves and not be dependent upon a man if something were to go wrong in a relationship. (Gerson, 128) These women, and the men, in her sample, both push for a new idea of parenting and work. While the men were more geared towards nontraditional outlooks as a fallback position if the egalitarian outlook did not work, they both had new ideas regarding both parents working and taking care of the children. This cultural change is supported by many of the young generation, and if they can be the ones to push for these changes in terms of policy and laws in terms of parental flexibility in the workforce, especially, they can definitely work towards gender equality. By recognizing the needs of men and women in the changing society, we can create social policies that recognize options that families and workers need. (Gerson, 223)
Williams’ argument for recognizing the “missing middle” discusses her personal study on class being assumed to be a study on the poor. She says that when class is discussed, people assume it’s either about the poor or the privileged and that academia has rarely focused on this “missing middle” class. Williams also discusses the large divides that come from each class culture gap and the fears of falling down a...