Women’s Employment and Homemaking Careers

Women’s Employment and Homemaking Careers

A Lifespan Perspective

Cherlyn Skromme Granrose

Chronicling the lives and career choices of a dynamic group of women, this book provides a comprehensive and unique glimpse into the intricate balance of work and family. Women’s Employment and Homemaking Careers is based on three surveys, the first conducted while the women were attending university, and the second and third conducted one and two decades later. The surveys provide quantitative data that supplements the qualitative material gained from final interviews conducted at the end of the 25 year longitudinal study.

Chapter 1: Introduction to the Women, the Study, and the Context

Cherlyn Skromme Granrose

Extract

What is it like to be a college-educated woman in your forties in the US in the middle of the first decade of the twenty-first century? How have mid-life women tried to create lives that have meaning and joy as they have made choices about how to balance employment and family responsibilities? How have they coped with conflicts and hassles that came with their choices? What paths did they travel to create the complex lives they live? What kind of future do they envision going into their fifties and sixties? This book addresses these questions using answers that one group of female graduates from two Northeastern state universities in the US have reported between their final days in college in the early 1980s and the middle of their lives in 2006–07. The primary focus of both the original study and of this book was to ask women while they were still at college whether or not they expected to be employed during the first three years after the birth of their first child and what they thought it would be like if they were or were not employed mothers. Then one decade and two decades after they first participated in the study we sent written questionnaires to the women asking about the same topics and also asking what they had done and how their families and employers were influencing their choices. Finally, 25 years after we began the study, we tried to find the women again. Those women we...