Opting In: Women in Search of Well-Being
In this contribution to the handbook we consider the concept of ‘opting in’. Opting in is a process through which women seek ways of working on their own terms and creating alternative definitions of success, placing priority on the well-being of themselves and their family. Our analysis and arguments challenge the contemporary and lively debates on ‘opting out’ which have been dominated by debates about women who leave their careers altogether to be with their children. We examine the experiences of professional women who choose to leave high-level careers to pursue specific interests, through the case studies of four women from Finland and the United States. For these women, opting in has involved a journey to new lifestyles where work and other areas of life can be combined, where they have more power over their time, and where they can achieve a sense of coherence, which in turn enhances their well-being.
KeywordsWomen Work Well-being Health Career Family Relationships Reinvention Case studies
The authors would like to thank Lidia Galabova, Technical University, Sofia, Bulgaria for her insightful comments on the varied and multi-faceted meanings of success for professional men and women.
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