Women's Work: A Reckoning with Home and Help
When Megan Stack left her prestigious job as a foreign correspondent to have a baby and to work from her home in Beijing writing a book, she quickly realised that childcare and housework would consume the time she needed to write. This dilemma was resolved in the manner of many upper-class families and large corporations- she availed herself of cheap Chinese labour. The housekeeper Stack hired was a migrant from the countryside, a mother who had left her daughter in a precarious situation to earn desperately needed cash in the capital. As Stack's family grew, a series of Chinese and Indian women cooked, cleaned, and babysat in her home, and she grew increasingly aware of the brutal realities of their lives - domestic abuse, alcoholism, unplanned pregnancies, and medical and family crises. Hiring poor women had given Stack the ability to work while raising her children - but what ethical compromises had she made? Determined to confront the truth, Stack travelled to her employees' homes, met their parents and children, and turned a journalistic eye on the trade-offs they'd been forced to make as working mothers seeking upward mobility - and on the cost to the children who were left behind. Women's Work is a stunning memoir of four women and an electrifying meditation on the evasions of marriage, motherhood, feminism, and privilege.