Jessica Calarco in Conversation with Doug Moe

Jul 23 | 6:00PM
Jessica Calarco in Conversation with Doug Moe
Event Presenter/Author
Jessica Calarco, Doug Moe

PLEASE NOTE: While this is a free event, RSVPs are encouraged. Seating is limited and will be first come, first served.

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About the book

America runs on women—women who are tasked with holding society together at the seams and fixing it when things fall apart. In this tour de force, acclaimed Sociologist Jessica Calarco lays bare the devastating consequences of our status quo.

Holding It Together draws on five years of research in which Calarco surveyed over 4000 parents and conducted more than 400 hours of interviews with women who bear the brunt of our broken system. A widowed single mother struggles to patch together meager public benefits while working three jobs; an aunt is pushed into caring for her niece and nephew at age fifteen once their family is shattered by the opioid epidemic; a daughter becomes the backstop caregiver for her mother, her husband, and her child because of the perceived flexibility of her job; a well-to-do couple grapples with the moral dilemma of leaning on overworked, underpaid childcare providers to achieve their egalitarian ideals. Stories of grief and guilt abound. Yet, they are more than individual tragedies.

Tracing present-day policies back to their roots, Calarco reveals a systematic agreement to dismantle our country’s social safety net and persuade citizens to accept precarity while women bear the brunt. She leads us to see women's labor as the reason we've gone so long without the support systems that our peer nations take for granted, and how women’s work maintains the illusion that we don't need a net.

Weaving eye-opening original research with revelatory sociological narrative, Holding It Together is a bold call to demand the institutional change that each of us deserves, and a warning about the perils of living without it.

About the author

Jessica Calarco is Associate Professor of sociology at the University of Wisconsin. An expert on families, schools, and inequalities, and a mom of two, she is the author of multiple award- winning books and has written for The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and Inside Higher Ed, as well as appeared on CNN, CNBC, NPR, and the BBC to discuss her research. See more at:

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