The print package consists primarily of an opening essay by staffer Nancy Gibbs, some survey results and a guest essay by Maria Shriver that both plugs her new book and says that her mother might have become president, had she run today.
The gist of the report is that women have, to quote the old Virginia Slims motto, come a long way, baby, but sustained losses along the way. Today’s women are more independent and powerful than the women about whom Time did a similar report in the early 70s, but they also feel less satisfied and content.
In some ways, the report is a metaphor for what has happened to Time, which appears to be floundering and casting about for a direction. The magazine seems caught between a reduced operating budget and lack of strategic vision, at times looking to be an incubator of ideas while at the same time giving people the quick informational hits to which they have become accustomed.
In all, the report was neither satisfying nor enlightening.
Readers wanting to learn more about woman’s life cycle would be well advised to read Joan Borysenko’s A Woman’s Book of LIfe: The Biology, Psychology and Spirituality of the Feminine Life Cycle. Borysenko takes the reader through a dozen seven-year cycles by telling the story of Julia, a composite protagonist. In each of the twelve sections, Borysenko writes accessibly about the interconnected physical, spiritual and emotional realms women experience. She draws from a wide range of thinkers and offers both an impressive synthesis of several distinct disciplines as well as a cyclical and continually changing vision of life.
The Time report also focused a lot on women at work and noted the milestone that the number of women may actually surpass that of men. Those wanting to explore that area further might enjoy The New American Workplace by James O’Toole and Edward E. Lawler III. Like the magazine, the two authors are returning to an area they first examined about 30 years ago in the bestselling Work in America, which I have not yet read.
People in the work world will not be surprised to read about the changes to more independence and flexibility and less security that have occurred within the American workplace. Similarly, the authors’ call for educational reform is not groundbreaking, but another reminder of the importance of preparing our nation’s youth.
Both books provide a deeper and more textured look at their topics than the Time report. In this regard, women may have made progress, but, unfortunately, the magazine has not.