Upcoming In-Person Author Interview: Jessica Calarco — June 20, 2024

Jessica Calarco, Sally Haldorson

April 24, 2024


Women's unpaid labor is coming at a cost. Jessica Calarco's new book details how our country's systemic issues exploit women and negatively affect everyone's quality of life. But it also provides plenty of research to point us in a new, more equitable direction.

Register now for our upcoming in-person interview with Jessica Calarco, author of Holding It Together: How Women Became America's Safety Net and A Field Guide to Grad School: Uncovering the Hidden Curriculum. She will be in conversation with Sally Haldorson, Porchlight's Managing Director.

Thursday, June 20, 2024
at Boswell Book Company,
2559 N Downer Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211 

Register to attend for free



→ Pre-order single copies of Together: How Women Became America's Safety Net from our event partner, Boswell Books.

 → Order bulk copies of Jessica’s books for your business book club, organization, or friends who want to better understand the consequences our country faces by relying on women rather than social safety nets. We at Porchlight Book Company offer competitive discounts on all bulk book purchases. 



Other countries have social safety nets. The U.S. has women. Holding It Together chronicles the causes and dire consequences. 
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 Authors

Jessica Calarco is a professor of sociology at the University of Wisconson, an expert on families, schools, and inequalities, and a mom of two.

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Sally’s mission as Porchlight’s Managing Director is to make Porchlight a great place to work for employees, and a consistently high-performing service organization for everyone in or orbiting the publishing industry. After 25 years working in book retail, she has developed a penchant for business strategy, both as a socio-economic force and a literary genre. Happy to put her English and Creative Writing degrees to work, she helped craft three editions of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time, and she reads, writes, and reviews for the company’s marketing team. Sally lives north of Milwaukee with her husband, son, and dog, and, in her spare time, rather doggedly works to perfect her writing skills and her tennis game, unsure which is the more Sisyphean endeavor.

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