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Women at the Top: Powerful Leaders Tell Us How to Combine Work and Family

ISBN: 978-1-4051-7105-2
320 pages
October 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Women at the Top: Powerful Leaders Tell Us How to Combine Work and Family (1405171057) cover image
Using case studies of top-level women and research in the field, Women at the Top breaks new ground and offers new insight into how women can create dually-successful lives.
  • explores the work histories, motivation, leadership styles, mentors, and family backgrounds of a diverse assortment of top-level women
  • includes the case studies of the President of Old Navy/Gap, the Chairman of Deloitte and Touche, the VP of IBM operations, a Supreme Court Judge in China, President of Legislative Council in Hong Kong, several university presidents, and more
  • weighs the positive effects of multiple roles and positive and negative work-life spill over
  • discusses strategies for success (e.g., scaling back, juggling), the need for social support, and the importance of cultural context
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Preface vi

Chapter 1 For Women at the Top: How’s the Weather up There? 1

Chapter 2 Learning from Mothers, Mentors, and Others 21

Chapter 3 Saving and Spending Time 47

Chapter 4 Happy Homemaker, Happy Marriage: The Female Executive Edition 73

Chapter 5 Cherished Children: Tales of Guilt and Pride 106

Chapter 6 Work–Family Spillover: From Conflict to Harmony 131

Chapter 7 Culture Counts: Leading as the World Changes 154

Chapter 8 Leading as Women: Styles, Obstacles, and Perceptions 183

Chapter 9 How to Lead a Dually Successful Life 208

References 231

Appendix: Biography of the Women Leaders 246

Index 278

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Diane F. Halpern is a past-president of the American Psychological Association, as well as Professor of Psychology and Director of the Berger Institute for Work, Family, and Children at Claremont McKenna College. Diane has published over 350 articles and many books including, Thought and Knowledge: An Introduction to Critical Thinking (4th ed.); Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities (3rd ed.), a special two-volume edited issue of the American Behavioral Scientist entitled Changes at the Intersection of Work and Family (edited with Heidi R. Riggio, 2006) and From Work-Family Balance to Work-Family Interaction: Changing the Metaphor (edited with Susan Murphy, 2005).

Fanny M. Cheung pioneered the field of gender and women’s studies in Hong Kong by founding the Gender Research Centre at the Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1985, and is its current Director. From 1996-1999, she took leave from the University to serve as the founding Chairperson of the Equal Opportunities Commission, a statutory body that implements the discrimination legislation in Hong Kong. She has served as a Delegate to the National Congress of Women in the People’s Republic of China for the past 11 years, and a member of the Women’s Commission of the Hong Kong SAR Government from 2001 to 2006. Cheung is currently Professor of Psychology and Chairperson of the Department of Psychology at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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  • explores the work histories, motivation, leadership styles, mentors, and family backgrounds of a diverse assortment of top-level women

  • includes the case studies of the President of Old Navy/Gap, the Chairman of Deloitte and Touche, the VP of IBM operations, a Supreme Court Judge in China, President of Legislative Council in Hong Kong, several university presidents, and more

  • weighs the positive effects of multiple roles and positive and negative work-life spill over

  • discusses strategies for success (e.g., scaling back, juggling), the need for social support, and the importance of cultural context
See More
"The book provides a nice balance of first-person accounts and summaries of up-to-date scholarly research
from a variety of disciplines. It is written in an accessible style, conveying scientific findings in a engaging and easy to understand format that should appeal to a wide audience interested in women's leadership, including women leaders and aspiring women leaders, and policy makers committed to advancing women's career opportunities." (Zentralblatt Math, 19 February 2010)

"Psychologists Diane Halpern and Fanny Cheung focus on one particular obstacle to women’s advancement: the difficulty for women of combining a career with family. The book’s unique contribution lies with the stories of the women leaders and their varied strategies for combining career and family. Readers will likely feel inspired by the womens' successes ... . A number of the book’s recommendations ... have received strong empirical support ... . The book provides a nice balance of first-person accounts and summaries of up-to-date scholarly research from a variety of disciplines. It is written in an accessible style, conveying scientific findings in a engaging and easy to understand format that should appeal to a wide audience ... . Because the book is highly interdisciplinary, it could also be used as a supplemental text in graduate and undergraduate courses in management and organizational behavior, psychology and sociology of work or gender, and family studies. I can imagine that it would generate much discussion among students who believe that career-oriented women no longer have obstacles to overcome and that combining career and family is easy." (Sex Roles, February 2010)

“Halpern and Cheung conduct a cross-cultural analysis of the work-life dichotomy in order to illuminate social and cultural expectations for women, to compare policy and personal solutions, and ultimately to propose a strategic plan for navigating work-life demands.” (Journal of International Women's Studies, May 2009)

"There is much here for women looking to energise their professional and home life, renew their perspectives and optimise their competencies as leaders and managers." (Psychologist, April 2009)

"Women at the Top offers remarkable insights into how women with family responsibilities have attained top positions. The women profiled in this book succeeded, despite encountering many challenges. Their routes to the top in the United States, China, and Hong Kong were shaped by differing cultural constraints. Yet creativity and thoughtful problem-solving helped all of these women to 'have it all.'"
Alice Eagly, Northwestern University; author of Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders

"We’ve come a long way! Women can have it all! This is a book about resilience and defying the odds. The authors have brought together diverse perspectives using women’s stories to create a new vision for women leaders—successfully combining work and family. No more guilt trips; mothers as role models and mentors are instrumental to their success."
Jean Lau Chin, EdD, ABPP, Dean and Professor, Derner Institute for Advanced Psychological Studies, Adelphi University

"This book is a refreshing blast against those who tell women ‘you can't have it all.’ Based on absorbing interviews with women at the top, the authors offer a wealth of advice for women who aspire to the "O" level - CEO, CFO, etc."
Stephanie Riger, Professor of Psychology and Gender and Women's Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

"Diane Halpern and Fanny Cheung bring us a well-researched, inspiring look at Women at the Top. These 62 women, from China, Hong Kong, and the US, are smart yet down to earth, committed yet compassionate, tough yet flexible, idealistic yet reasonable, admirable yet human, and simply downright likeable. They have had their share of highs and lows. Still, their lives give us reason to hope that women, indeed, can have it all."
Jean Lipman-Blumen, Thornton F. Bradshaw Professor of Public Policy and Professor of Organizational Behavior, Peter F. Drucker & Matsatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, Claremont Graduate University, author of Connective Leadership: Managing in a Changing World and The Allure of Toxic Leaders

"Women at the Top is a well-written book that provides great reassurance and encouragement for women embarking on the duel tasks of balancing family life and professional ambitions. It offers a sound guide for women who aspire to flourish in both roles, and it will benefit the child, husband, family, company and society, as well. Valuable personal advice is woven into each chapter from high-achieving women who have successfully navigated integrating family life and career. These women leaders share their experiences, obstacles, and strategies, affording insights for fellow go-getters on the realities and possibilities of life at the top. This book is a sound guide for a balanced life that is not only manageable, but fully rewarding as well. Bravo to authors Diane Halpern and Fanny Cheung for this outstanding volume."
Florence L. Denmark, Robert Scott Pace Distinguished Research Professor at Pace University and Former President of the American Psychological Association

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