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Much of the work family literature that has blossomed over the last decade has focused on professional women and has emphasized policy changes that would be of less utility to many other working women and men. In this symposium contribution, we explore the recent data on working time to demonstrate that in today's economy more women are underemployed rather than overemployed. We also demonstrate that although professional women tend to work the longest hours, they also tend to have the greatest means, both in income and workplace benefits, to support them in achieving a workable balance between their work and family demands. We discuss the most prominent policy proposals for helping attain this balance, including a greater emphasis on part-time work and shorter workweeks, and critique them for their failure to address the needs of most working women. Finally, we suggest several alternative proposals, including lengthening school days, addressing domestic violence, and challenging the stubborn gender norms that prevent further progress for equality in both the workplace and the home.

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George Washington University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 181

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