WE HAVE FOCUSED, in the previous chapters, on the public lives of the women in our study. But what about the ways the women’s private choices have intersected with their career choices? Whether the decision was about marriage, children, or relationships, we found that when the women talked about their professional and personal lives, racial differences mostly melted away. Race may have meant separate journeys through childhood and separate career paths, but regardless of actual marital and family status, all of the women we interviewed faced the same turbulence when work intersected with family and femininity.

The gender dividing line and its assignment of different standards for personal relationships for men and ...

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