The Challenge of Being a Woman in the 21st Century

Yesterday in my email box, I got the announcement that Debora Spar, the President of Barnard College (Columbia U., my Alma Mater) has written a new book about the challenge of being a woman in our times, Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection. Released on September 17, it is available on Amazon and all major bookstores.   

This is a deeply personal story and Debora Spar examines how women’s lives have, and have not, changed over the past forty years. Her message: women should stop trying to "have it all" - wise advice! I know I certainly did several times in my life. I put family priorities ahead of my career and you know what? I never regretted it! My life remained full thanks to my husband and children.

As Kira Goldenberg puts it in her review of the book, "the way out of this perfection trap is that women lucky enough to have options need to admit that something's gotta give, and that doing so is a positive choice rather than a betrayal of feminism's legacy." (to read the whole article, click here)  

In other words, there's a limit to "leaning in",  Sheryl Sandberg's call to women to break through the "glass ceiling" (she is the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook).

Barnard vs. Facebook? Interesting...

There has already been a great deal of media attention surrounding the book, and there will be much more ahead in the coming months. President Spar will be visiting several cities this fall to discuss the book, including:

WASHINGTON DC @ Politics and Prose Bookstore September 25, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (opens to the public at 7:00 PM) 

SEATTLE @ Town Hall Seattle October 7, 7:30 PM to 8:30 PM Please note this is a ticketed event 

SAN FRANCISCO @ The Bay School (hosted by Book Passage) October 9, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (opens to the public at 7:30 PM) 

CHICAGO @ University of Chicago October 21, 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM (public signing), 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM for Barnard alumnae and parents Please note this is a ticketed event  

BOSTON @ Harvard Bookstore October 22, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM (opens to the public at 7:00 PM) 

NEW YORK @ Barnes and Noble Union Square October 28 at 6:30 PM

Here's the book trailer(cool):

To visit her website, click here.

And here's an excerpt from the book: click here.

I can't wait to read it - this is the first time, I'm sorry I live in Italy, I can't attend any of her events...
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I thought the point to the women's movement initially was to forge a more deterministic role in our lives. We didn't want men to define us or society to define us but then we let other women define us. Each woman is a potential work of art as is each man. Our responsibility in this game of life is to come up with what is ours personally to do and do it. There is no right or wrong as defined by the world, only that we take a path with heart, whatever we do. It will always be flavored with the unique perspective of a woman and that can be a thing of great beauty. So I would ask that we not continue to act and speak as if breaking the glass ceiling or aspirations of carrying on three careers at a time is somehow more profound an achievement than raising a happy, well-adjusted child or putting your all into a healthy loving marriage, or whatever else each gal sees as her role in her life. But that does require us to get clear about what we want out of life and then make it happen.
Claude Nougat said…
Christina, I haven't read the book, but from the interviews and the excerpts I did read, it looks like that is exactly Debora Spar's message! I believe she totally agrees with you. You should read her book, I'm sure you'll enjoy it very much and find you're like-minded!