More Evidence of the Opt-Out Delusion

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More evidence of the gossamer (some would say fictitious) nature of the so-called Opt-Out Revolution. Highly educated, affluent women are not permanently fleeing careers for the home front when they have children. They are instead taking temporary breaks when their children are very young but going back to work and maintaining real-world ambition. This trend is not limited to high-income working mothers. New data show that women of all income levels are taking time off when their children are first born, even if they can't really afford it.

Columnist Sue Shellenbarger reports in yesterday's Wall Street Journal: "The first national demographic analysis [of] data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the seven-year trend (of new mothers taking time off from work) has been broader than previously believed, with women at all income levels taking job breaks, not just the highly educated, prosperous moms examined in many recent studies. And they are staying out of the work force for shorter periods than in the past."

Why isn't this report enjoying the widespread media attention given in 2003 to the so-called Opt-Out Revolution, which was rife with inaccuracies? That coverage was launched by a Sunday New York Times Magazine cover story and repeated on network television newscasts, other major print and online magazines, and so on. It remains to be seen whether media outlets will see fit to lavish front-page attention on data showing women don't prefer homemaking to work. That would require them to fess up to a bit of bias now, wouldn't it?