Broken Patterns

BROKEN PATTERNS PICKS UP WHERE LEAN IN LEAVES OFF…placing modern professional women, their mothers and their grandmothers, in a remarkable  historical context.  A must-read for anyone seeking insight into the history and psychology of professional women. Introducing the 2nd Edition, with a new preface and afterword by the author.

Today, women are  entering professional careers in unprecedented numbers, and rising to the highest levels in corporations, academe, media and politics. But new books and studies suggest that the movement toward equality of men and women has stalled–in part because some women are opting for domestic–even subservient– roles. What does this mean for the future?

Broken Patterns tells the stories of  40 professional women who entered male-dominated careers in the 1970s and 80s.  It places these groundbreaking women, and  their mothers and grandmothers in  historical context going back to the American Colonial Era. It shows  that,  in the 19th century and again in the 20th, the more women left the home for paying work in one generation, the greater the societal belief in domesticity for women, in the next.

First published in 1995, Broken Patterns traces the paths of  the women  interviewed and also professional women’s historic quest to express the qualities they deem “feminine”–yet also achieve equality with men.  In the book, author Anita Harris  lays out a vision of progress–whether historical, generational, personal or creative–that  is not linear nor cyclic, but spiral.

In this spiral process,  she writes, “driven by technologic, natural, societal or internal forces, we move forward toward new opportunities.  We get just so far,  then pull back to  reintegrate images, ideas and experiences of the past—building a new basis on which to move forward, once again.”

The 2nd edition, published in 2014, includes interviews with current college women, as well as a new preface and an afterward showing how far women have come since Broken Patterns was first published in 1995.

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