Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The XX Factor

Join getAbstract to access the summary!

The XX Factor

How Working Women Are Creating a New Society

Profile Books,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

How are 70 million working women changing global society?

Editorial Rating



Though society is still working to achieve gender equality, women make up a significant portion of the workforce and hold elite positions in organizations worldwide. Alison Wolf presents studies and statistics on how women’s decisions to work or not to work affect everyone. Wolf’s comprehensive book includes snapshots of society in North America, Europe and Asia. She also describes coffee shop discussions among her female friends and colleagues about their working lives. Her research uncovers the interesting and surprising consequences of the growing female workforce. Although Wolf shoehorns in some ideas, she proves to be an engaging writer. getAbstract especially recommends her treatise to young professional women and to all women deciding whether to work, raise a family or try to do both.


Limited Options, Unlimited Possibilities

Today, women worldwide find that being female is among their least-defining characteristics. Women who have access to education have more choices than ever before. In the past, a woman aspired to marry a rich man. If she did not marry, she was largely dependent on relatives or friends for financial support. She was labeled an “old maid” and could look forward to a life of hardship.

If a woman did marry, her purpose was to bear and raise children, take care of her husband and run the household. If her husband was wealthy, her household would be large and its management complex. If she didn’t have a large house and servants, she dedicated her daily life from dawn to dusk to cooking, cleaning, sewing and child care.

However, the labor force found that, if necessary, it could change. When men went to war, society needed women to work. Many women found they liked the independence, camaraderie and purpose of working. In the 1960s and 70s, social changes, learning opportunities and shifting perceptions gave women new opportunities to assume less-traditional workplace roles. Women could study whatever they wanted; they could work...

About the Author

Alison Wolf is the Sir Roy Griffiths Professor of Public Sector Management at Kings College London and director of its international center for university policy research.

Comment on this summary