Wonder Women by Debora L. Spar
Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection

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For younger women who have accepted their entitlement to full equality with men, the conflicting demands of the roles expected of them, and their own “quest for perfection,” can be devastating. A wise, worthy companion to Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In (2013).
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Fifty years after the Equal Pay Act, why are women still living in a man's world?

Debora L. Spar never thought of herself as a feminist. Raised after the tumult of the 1960s, she presumed the gender war was over. As one of the youngest female professors to be tenured at Harvard Business School and a mother of three, she swore to young women that they could have it all. "We thought we could just glide into the new era of equality, with babies, board seats, and husbands in tow," she writes. "We were wrong."

Now she is the president of Barnard College, arguably the most important all-women's college in the United States. And in Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and the Quest for Perfection—a fresh, wise, original book— she asks why, a half century after the publication of Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique, do women still feel stuck.

In this groundbreaking and compulsively readable book, Spar explores how American women's lives have—and have not—changed over the past fifty years. Armed with reams of new research, she details how women struggled for power and instead got stuck in an endless quest for perfection. The challenges confronting women are more complex than ever, and they are challenges that come inherently and inevitably from being female. Spar is acutely aware that it's time to change course.

Both deeply personal and statistically rich, Wonder Women is Spar's story and the story of our culture. It is cultural history at its best, and a road map for the future.

 

About Debora L. Spar

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Debora L. Spar is the president of Barnard College, a women’s liberal arts college affiliated with Columbia University. She received her doctorate in government from Harvard University and was the Spangler Family Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School. Spar is the author of numerous books, including Ruling the Waves: Cycles of Invention, Chaos, and Wealth from the Compass to the Internet and The Baby Business: How Money, Science, and Politics Drive the Commerce of Conception.
 
Published September 17, 2013 by Sarah Crichton Books. 320 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Wonder Women
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
Reviewed by Kirkus Reviews on Jul 07 2013

For younger women who have accepted their entitlement to full equality with men, the conflicting demands of the roles expected of them, and their own “quest for perfection,” can be devastating. A wise, worthy companion to Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In (2013).

Read Full Review of Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Patricia Cohen on Sep 23 2013

...given Ms. Spar’s background in economics, I wanted, well, more from her book. I wish she had expanded on her intriguing discussion of why the sexual freedom women have embraced has not necessarily worked in their best interest.

Read Full Review of Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and... | See more reviews from NY Times

Publishers Weekly

Excellent
on Jul 22 2013

Tactfully navigating heated debates and effectively contextualizing historical trends and contemporary problems, Spar's book will be welcomed by readers who envision a world "driven by women's skills and interests and passions as much as by men's."

Read Full Review of Wonder Women: Sex, Power, and... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

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