Friday, December 01, 2017

A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: TLC Book Tour

I have read some lovely books for TLC book tours, but Sarah Lacy's A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman's Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy is my favorite.  Part memoir of a Silicon Valley startup founder, part rumination on motherhood, particularly single motherhood, part feminist manifesta, Lacy's book is entertaining and thought-provoking.

You all know that I am an advocate of the 50/50 marriage, so it's no surprise that my favorite chapter was the one titled "The Single-Mom Penalty and the Single Mom Bonus" where she talk about the reality of the gritty work of parenting.  What I liked most about this was that Lacy recognizes her enormous privilege-- she's affluent! she makes her own schedule and is accountable to herself! she has lots of hep!-- but she lets us know that parenting, and mothering in particular, is hard for all of us, even if we also have these kinds of advantages.  That's what makes this book so good and so smart: Lacy understands that it's larger social structures that are working against working women. It's patriarchy, not individual choices.  This lets her rallying cry of "Together we mom" make total sense and function as both a call to action and a statement of liberation.

When patriarchy determines our array of possible choices from the outset, it matters less what choices each of us makes in our own homes and more about all of us working together to broaden the choices we have in the first place.  Down with patriarchy, not with formula-feeders, KWIM?

Her discussion of patriarchy is reminiscent of bell hooks.  Lacy recognizes that women are also complicit in structures of patriarchal oppression because we (and especially white middle and upper class cisgendered married women) benefit from those structures, too.This gives her argument more nuance.  She's not mad at individual men per se; she's mad at the culture we allow to keep unfolding.

So much stands out as valuable in these pages.  I loved her discussion of the 2016 presidential election and the Women's March.  I adore the notion that a uterus isn't a time bomb.  Her reframing of maternity leave from a benefit to an entitlement is a policy intervention I think most of us would agree that we need in the US.  My favorite thing about the book, though, was how positive she is about motherhood throughout.  Motherhood can be a source of power, inspiration, energy, creativity, and Lacy shows us through her own story that motherhood can be the impetus for career success, not the thing that holds us back and makes us less than.

A little more about the book:

About A Uterus is a Feature, Not a Bug

ï Hardcover:†320 pages ï Publisher:†HarperBusiness (November 14, 2017) A rallying cry for working mothers everywhere that demolishes the "distracted, emotional, weak" stereotype and definitively shows that these professionals are more focused, decisive, and stronger than any other force. Working mothers arenít a liability. They are assets youóand every manager and executiveówant in your company, in your investment portfolio, and in your corner. There is copious academic research showing the benefits of working mothers on families and the benefits to companies who give women longer and more flexible parental leave. There are even findings that demonstrate women with multiple children actually perform better at work than those with none or one. Yet despite this concrete proof that working mothers are a lucrative asset, they still face the "Maternal Wall"ówidespread unconscious bias about their abilities, contributions, and commitment. Nearly eighty percent of women are less likely to be hired if they have childrenóand are half as likely to be promoted. Mothers earn an average $11,000 less in salary and are held to higher punctuality and performance standards. Forty percent of Silicon Valley women said they felt the need to speak less about their family to be taken more seriously. Many have been told that having a second child would cost them a promotion. Fortunately, this prejudice is slowly giving way to new attitudes, thanks to more women starting their own businesses, and companies like Netflix, Facebook, Apple, and Google implementing more parent-friendly policies. But the most important barrier to change isnít about men. Women must rethink the way they see themselves after giving birth. As entrepreneur Sarah Lacy makes clear in this cogent, persuasive analysis and clarion cry, the strongest, most lucrative, and most ambitious time of a womanís career may easily be after she sees a plus sign on a pregnancy test.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

[caption id="attachment_61077" align="alignright" width="160"] Photo by Geoffrey Ellis[/caption]

About Sarah Lacy

Sarah Lacy is the founder, CEO, and editor-in-chief of the investigative tech news site Pando.com. She has been covering technology news and entrepreneurship for over fifteen years, with stints at†BusinessWeek†and†TechCrunch†before founding her own company while on maternity leave in 2011. She lives in San Francisco. Most importantly of all, she is†the mother of two young children. Follow Sarah on Twitter.


A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug
 is a terrific read.  Let me know if you read it and what your favorite parts are!

1 comment:

Heather J. said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour!