Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management
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Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management

Getting In, Getting On, Getting Out

Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden

Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management provides an international overview of current practice and theory surrounding gendered employment in management, illustrating the impact of gender on key stages of career development.
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Chapter 28: Exploring the career decisions of professional women with dependent children

Helen M. Woolnough and Jane Redshaw


Figures suggest that in the UK today there are more women with dependent children in the workforce than ever before (Office for National Statistics, 2013). Since 1996 when comparable records were first kept, the number of working mothers has increased by almost 800 000 to 5.3 million (ibid.). This increase is due to changes in societal attitudes, legislation and family-friendly policies that have positively impacted on the ability of many women to enter into and remain in the workforce. Research has shown that professional women in the UK (that is, those who have acquired professional knowledge through high levels of experience and/ or extensive study), are likely to return to work after having children, and recent figures, for example, suggest that approximately nine in ten professionals or associate professionals and over eight in ten managers returned to work after childbirth (Chanfreau et al., 2011). It is important to note, however, that not all women have experienced these changes equally and research has revealed that mothers from disadvantaged backgrounds are less likely to return to work after childbirth (Smeaton, 2006).

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