Book Excerpt: Powering Up

How America’s Women Achievers Become Leaders
May 4, 2018 1:45 PM ET

Not since Arlie Russell Hochschild laid out the lives of women who worked inside and outside the home in her 1989, jaw-droppingly astute book, The Second Shift, has someone so clearly articulated the machinations that have held back women from leadership, and what we can do about it. Anne Doyle’s Powering Up: How America’s Women Achievers Become Leaders, is a perfect follow up for those who have marshalled troops to help with the second shift and are already leaning in.

For starters, she points out the difference between achievers and leaders. The United States ranks among the first for women’s education levels, but women are still significantly under-represented in C-suites, boardrooms, and government—at all levels. Her research characterizes the three generations of ‘the highest educated, most professionally accomplished, and politically savvy women in the history of the world.’

The first generation began with the ‘Pioneering Interlopers’ who carved new paths where women were not always welcome—where there were no rules, or the rules were clearly stacked against women entering. Their courage, ambition, and toughness cleared the way for achievements that today seem mainstream. But those experiences didn’t usually cultivate nurturing qualities.

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