"Unwilling to give up her novel after the birth of her first son, Ms. Stack outsources her child care and the care of her household to other working mothers—Xiao Li in Beijing, and Angie and Punaam in Delhi—so she can write. With the disparities of socioeconomic status in mind, and kind of hating herself for her participation in the perpetuation of 'women’s work,' Stack, an award-winning journalist, interviews these women—her employees—to try to understand their experiences in remote villages of China and India. Her insights are sharp and ugly as she wrestles with the reality of lifting herself on the shoulders of these women who turned to domestic work out of desperation and necessity, weaving a complicated web of the economics of motherhood. Women’s Work replaces the lighthearted and heartwarming tale of domesticity with something dark, unforgiving, and necessary."
A National Book Award finalist's devastating account of raising her children abroad with the help of Chinese and Indian women who are also working mothers, a compromise that leads her to examine the underbelly of cheap domestic labor--and to realize that the work of the household is where gender inequality begins When Megan Stack left her prestigious job as a foreign correspondent to have a baby and work from her home in Beijing writing a book, she quickly realized that childcare and housework would consume the time she needed to write. This dilemma was resolved in the manner of many upper class families and large corporations: she availed herself of cheap Chinese labor. The housekeeper Stack hired was a migrant from the countryside, a mother who had left her daughter in a precarious situation to earn desperately needed cash in the capital. As Stack's family grew, a series of Chinese and Indian women cooked, cleaned and babysat in her home and she grew increasingly aware of the brutal realities of their lives: domestic abuse, alcoholism, unplanned pregnancies, medical and family crises. Hiring poor women had given Stack the ability to work while raising her children--but what ethical compromise had she made? Determined to confront the truth, Stack traveled to her employees' homes, met their parents and children, and turned a journalistic eye on the tradeoffs they'd been forced to make as working mothers seeking upward mobility--and on the cost to the children who were left behind. Women's Work is a stunning memoir of four women and an electrifying meditation on the evasions of marriage, motherhood, feminism, and privilege.