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Mary Evans
professor of women's studies at the University of Kent, and author

Citizens of the West in the Twenty First Century are offered what appear to be diverse choices for their lives. But what I see as the major challenge facing women and men in their everyday lives, is how to maintain worthwhile personal lives in the face of rising costs of living and myriad pressures in employment.

In the past decades we have seen both women and men faced with new demands (not least the maintenance of a family life in which both adults want to or have to work). Although this is sometimes interpreted as the question of ‘work/life balance’, I think it is much more than that: it is the question of being able and willing to think about both what it is possible to have and what it is worth having.

‘Getting and spending we lay waste our lives’, wrote the poet William Wordsworth. The question of how to live in a consumer society, in which a lot of what is produced is widely recognised as junk, is my question.

Mary Evans is author of books including Killing Thinking: The Death of the University (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)), and Gender and Social Theory (buy this book from Amazon (UK) or Amazon (USA)).

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