Abstract and Keywords
Today, 58% of women executives voluntarily choose flexible work options or a variety of other nontraditional career paths that take them far afield from the traditional, male, linear ascent to corporate power and success, and 37% of these highly qualified women voluntarily leave their careers for some period of time. They leave to have babies, to take care of aging parents, or for other such gender-based roles, and one-fourth do not return to their previous jobs. The collective impact of these individual, gender-based decisions made by women has created a near panic among US corporations. The price tag for refilling a job slot is typically 150% of the former employee's salary, and for high-level executives, is almost three times the job's annual salary. Accordingly, as women executives leave the corporate world, their individual actions create a collective, leaderless social movement that looks, statistically and financially, like a contemporary women's revolt against big-time corporate American enterprise. To stop the disruptions to business interests brought about by this leaderless women's movement, global corporations have turned for advice to Women's Studies scholars and other advocates for women's gender-based interests and rights. As a result, corporate America now hires these advocates to develop gender-based company policies and procedures to keep women executives in the corporate fold. This new effort is referred to as Feminism, Inc., which is the for-profit hiring of women's advocates to facilitate a business process designed to economically exploit the women the advocates help. This chapter is organized as follows. Part I delineates the problem and shows how Women's Studies scholarship and professional advocacy for women's rights transformed into an antifeminist, market-driven, business agenda for corporate America; Part II proffers solutions.
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