Upcoming Event

Meg Lovejoy and Pamela Stone [CANCELED]


Opting Back In:
What Really Happens When Mothers Go Back to Work

Please Note: This event has been canceled


April 3, 2020
3:00 PM


Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138


This event is free; no tickets are required.


This event has been canceled. We apologize for any inconvenience. 

Harvard Book Store welcomes PAMELA STONE—professor of sociology at Hunter College and author of Opting Out?—and MEG LOVEJOY—research program director for Harvard University's Workplace and Well-being Initiative—for a discussion of their co-authored book, Opting Back In: What Really Happens When Mothers Go Back to Work.

About Opting Back In

Taking a career break is a conflicted and risky decision for high-achieving professional women. Yet many do so, usually planning, even as they quit, to return to work eventually. But can they? And if so, how?

In Opting Back In, Pamela Stone and Meg Lovejoy revisit women first interviewed a decade earlier in Stone’s book Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home to answer these questions. In frank and intimate accounts, women lay bare the dilemmas they face upon reentry. Most succeed but not by returning to their former high-paying, still family-inhospitable jobs. Instead, women strike out in new directions, finding personally gratifying but lower-paid jobs in the gig economy or predominantly female nonprofit sector. Opting Back In uncovers a paradox of privilege by which the very women best positioned to achieve leadership and close gender gaps use strategies to resume their careers that inadvertently reinforce gender inequality. The authors advocate gender equitable policies that will allow women—and all parents—to combine the intense demands of work and family life in the twenty-first century.

Praise for Opting Back In

“At yet another moment when the best and brightest are needed in our fast-changing workforce, Pamela Stone and Meg Lovejoy offer a valuable take on what one of America’s greatest resources—the smart, talented women who opted out of their careers to raise children—face when they return and the consequences for all women seeking to strike a work/life balance.” —Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor of PBS NewsHour

“A book we badly need. Stone and Lovejoy probe the lives of the very women who could and should be earning the same high salaries and leading the same companies and law firms as their male counterparts but are not. They demonstrate where and how the pipeline of female talent leaks, while also identifying paradoxes of privilege that reinforce existing power structures. It should be required reading at professional schools across the country.” —Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO, New America

“Stone and Lovejoy show clearly how women’s cheerful language of reinvention veils status anxiety for children’s future in an age of increasing income inequality and disillusion with the often family-hostile and sexist atmosphere in high-stakes, high-status jobs.” —Joan Williams, Professor of Law and Director of the Center for WorkLife Law, University of California Hastings College of Law

Meg Lovejoy
Meg Lovejoy

Meg Lovejoy

Meg Lovejoy is the research program director for the Workplace and Well-being Initiative, a broad-based research and policy program designed to develop and implement evidence-based workplace change for worker well-being. Meg holds a PhD in sociology, with an emphasis on social inequalities and work-life integration, from Brandeis University.

Pamela Stone
Pamela Stone

Pamela Stone

Pamela Stone is Professor of Sociology at Hunter College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her book, Opting Out? Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home,was a winner of the American Sociological Association's 2009 William S. Goode Award for the best book on the family.

Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138

Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes

As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.

General Info
(617) 661-1515

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