Working, Caring and Sharing: Work-Life Dilemmas in Early Motherhood

  • Diane M. Houston
  • Gillian Marks
Part of the The Future of Work Series book series (TFW)

Abstract

During the last two decades of the 20th century the work participation of women with preschool children almost doubled from 28 per cent in 1980 to 53 per cent in 1999 (McRae, 2003). This increase now appears to have stabilised, with Labour Force Survey (LFS) figures for 2004 showing that 53 per cent of women with preschool children are in employment (Clegg, 2004). McRae (2003) and Houston and Marks (2002; 2003) demonstrate that this increase in part represents a greater likelihood of returning to work after the first child and that longitudinal analysis of individual women’s employment shows a marked decrease in work, particularly full-time work, during the first child’s early childhood, especially when women have second and subsequent children. McRae’s (2003) longitudinal analysis demonstrated that only 10 per cent of first-time mothers had maintained full-time employment by the time their first child was 11 years old. McRae argues that this suggests that ‘a complete explanation of women’s labour market choices after childbirth, and the outcomes of these choices, depends as much on understanding the constraints that differentially affect women as it does on understanding their preferences.’ (2003: 334–5).

Keywords

Income Lime 215t Century Balan Fami 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson, T., Forth, J., Metcalf, H. and Kirby, S. (2001) The Gender Pay Gap, Women and Equality Unit, London.Google Scholar
  2. Bradbury, T.N. and Fincham, F.D. (1992) Attributions and behavior in marital interaction, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 65, 613–28.Google Scholar
  3. Crompton, R. and Harris, F. (1998) Explaining women’s employment patterns: orientations to work revisited, British Journal of Sociology, 49, 118–36.Google Scholar
  4. Clegg, M. (2004) Gender Briefings: Facts and Figures about Women in the Labour Market, Women and Equality Unit Website.Google Scholar
  5. Fagan, C. and Rubery, J. (1996) ‘The salience of the part-time divide in the European Union’, European Sociological Review, 12, 227–50.Google Scholar
  6. Feingold, A. (1992) Gender differences in mate selection preferences: a test of the parental investment model, Psychological Bulletin, 112, 125–39.Google Scholar
  7. Francisconi, M. and Ermish, J. (2000) The effect ofparental employment on children’s educational attainment, Working paper University of Essex; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR).Google Scholar
  8. Ginn, J., Arber, S., Brannen, J., Dale, A., Dex, S., Elias, P., Moss, P., Pahl, J., Roberts, C. and Rubery, C. (1996) ‘Feminist fallacies: a reply to Hakim on women’s employment’, British Journal of Sociology, 47, 167–74.Google Scholar
  9. Goldberg, D. and Hillier, V.F. (1979) A scaled version of the General Health Questionnaire, Psychological Medicine, 9, 139–45.Google Scholar
  10. Hakim, C. (2000) Work-Lifestyle Choices in the 21st Century: Preference Theory, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Hakim, C. (1991) ‘Grateful slaves and self-made women: Fact and fantasy in women’s work orientations’, European Sociological Review, 7, 101–21.Google Scholar
  12. Hakim, C. (2002) ‘Lifestyle preferences as determinants of women’s differentiated labour market careers’, Work and Occupations, 29, 428–59.Google Scholar
  13. Hakim, C. (2003a) ‘Public morality versus personal choice: the failure of social attitude surveys’, British Journal of Sociology, 54, 339–45.Google Scholar
  14. Hakim, C. (2003b) Childlessness in Europe. End of Award Report to ESRC.Google Scholar
  15. Hakim, C. (2005) Sex differences in work-life balance goals, in Houston D.M. (ed.), Work Life Balance in the Twenty First Century, Palgrave.Google Scholar
  16. Hogg, M.A., Terry, D.J. and White, K.M. (1995) A tale of two theories: A critical comparison of identity theory with social identity theory, Social Psychology Quarterly, 58, 255–269.Google Scholar
  17. Houston, D.M. and Marks, G. (2000) Employment Choices for Mothers of Pre School Children: A Psychological Perspective, End of Award Report to the Economic and Social Research Council.Google Scholar
  18. Houston, D.M. and Marks, G. (2002) Paid and unpaid work in early parenthood, End of Award Report to the Economic and Social Research Council.Google Scholar
  19. Houston, D.M. and Marks G. (2003) The role of planning and workplace support in returning to work after maternity leave, British Journal oflndustrial Relations, 41, 197–214.Google Scholar
  20. Houston, D.M. and Marks, G. (2004) Predicting the work intentions and behaviour of first-time mothers using the theory of planned behaviour. Paper under editorial consideration.Google Scholar
  21. Houston, D.M. and Waumsley, J.A. (2003) Attitudes to flexible working and family life, JRF, The Policy Press.Google Scholar
  22. Kurtz, Z. (2004) What works in promoting children’s mental health: the evidence and the implications for sure start settings, www.surestart.gov.ukGoogle Scholar
  23. McAllister, F. and Clarke, L. (1998) Choosing Childlessness, Family Policy Studies Centre.Google Scholar
  24. McRae, S. (2003) Constraints and choices in mothers’ employment careers: a consideration of Hakim’s Preference Theory, British Journal of Sociology, 54, 317–38.Google Scholar
  25. Miller, L. Neathey, F. Pollard, E. and Hill, D. (2004) Occupational segregation, gender gaps and skill gaps, Equal Opportunities Commission.Google Scholar
  26. O’Brian, M. and Shemilt, I. (2003) Working Fathers: Earning and Caring. Manchester: Equal Opportunities Commission.Google Scholar
  27. Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (1990) Standard Occupational Classification (SOC), 3, London: HMSO.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Diane M. Houston and Gillian Marks 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane M. Houston
  • Gillian Marks

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations