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What enables professional women to continue to pursue their careers full-time and bring up children?

By Rebecca Morris

Abstract

Women who continue to pursue their careers full-time once they become mothers face a constant juggling act of priorities. Some women succeed but many well qualified and experienced mothers have ‘fallen by the wayside’ and have had to work at a level lower than their qualifications warrant, often in part-time positions. This is an unacceptable situation, squandering skills and talents that the United Kingdom and individuals personally have invested in. \ud Whilst there is no shortage of literature on working mothers, most of it focuses on work-life balance and combining part-time employment with caring for children. This research focuses on full-time working mothers and asks what actually enables women to continue to pursue their careers and bring up children. \ud The results of one to one interviews with 29 women, who are both pursuing a full-time career and bringing up children, form the basis of the research. The findings conclude that there is not one specific factor which can be pinpointed that enables a woman to work full-time and bring up children, rather a combination of interacting factors mainly support from a partner, the ability to work flexibly and having sound childcare arrangements in place. The findings highlight the role of househusbands in enabling mothers to be the family breadwinners. The findings suggest that a woman has to be realistic about what she can achieve and be prepared to compromise, recognising that ‘having it all’ is not always a possibility. Being able to accept one’s limitations and being prepared to identify where priorities lie, enable women to navigate conflicting demands in different areas of their lives, which make it possible to juggle and balance both a full-time career and bringing up children

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2011
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9701

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