Book Excerpt: Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family

By Stew Friedman

BabyBustCoverw_Border_-_resizedLean in. Opt out. Have it all. None of the above.

On October 15, 2013 Wharton School Press released a new book by Stew Friedman, founding director of The Wharton School’s Work/Life Integration Project. In Baby Bust: New Choices for Men and Women in Work and Family, Friedman draws on research of two generations of Wharton college students as they graduated: Gen Xers in 1992 and Millennials in 2012. The cross-generational study produced a stark discovery – the rate of graduates who plan to have children has dropped by nearly half over the past 20 years. At the same time, men and women are now more aligned in their attitudes about dual-career relationships, and they are opting out of parenthood in equal proportions. But their reasons for doing so are quite different.

The book explains why so many young people are not planning to become parents. In it, Friedman reveals good news, that there is a greater freedom of choice now, and bad, that new constraints are limiting people’s options.

In this book, Friedman addresses:

  • How views about work and family have changed in the past 20 years
  • Why men and women have different reasons for opting out of parenthood
  • How family has been redefined
  • Why we are all now part of a revolution in work and family
  • What choices we face in our social and educational policy
  • How organizations and individuals – especially men – can spur cultural change