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Chapter 18

Chapter 18- Bonnie Fox

6 Pages
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Department
Sociology
Course Code
SOC244H5
Professor
Jennifer Carlson

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Chapter 18: Education, Work and Family Decision- Making: Finding the “right time” to have a baby Author: Gillian Ranson Introduction Experiences women have in paid workforce shape their decisions as adults about whether to devote their time and energy more to family or to their careers/jobs Ranson questions the relationship between whether and when women have children and their field of academic concentration and job choices Paid word became more essential than before for women Women’s jobs and careers now monopolize their time and energy Ranson’s findings suggest that paid work may be a major factor shaping women’s life cycles, including if and when they become mothers Education, Work, and Family Decision-making: Finding the ‘right time’ to have a baby Challenges of combining family responsibilities and paid employment have been documented at length o The combination of work and family has a different effect on women than on men o Becoming a parent has a more profound impact on women because motherhood becomes more difficult if the mother has a paid job Women’s exclusive biological capacity to bear children has come to be generalized to an exclusive capacity to care for them Women compelled by economic needs or their personal needs to build a career can defer the transition to motherhood or face conflict and struggle to try and synchronize motherhood and a paying job o Women also find some jobs make this more manageable than other jobs do Research described here is a part of a larger study of the effect of educational and occupational choices on the transition to motherhood among university-educated women o This research in particular looks at the timing of the transition and the influence that different educational and occupational choices may exert on the decision to have or not have a baby First proposition to be addressed is the kind of university education that has an effect on the www.notesolution.com timing of first childbirth among university-educated women Evidence that such a link exists comes from a longitudinal study of 185 female university graduates who were first surveyed after their graduation from the University of Alberta in 1985 When last surveyed in the spring of 1992, 70% were married and 31% were raising children Comparing graduates from the five faculties (arts, business, education, engineering, and science), it was clear that women who were most likely to be mothers by 1992 were the education graduates most of whom were elementary school teachers Data suggests that women with education and nursing degrees (linked to traditional female occupations) are more likely to have children than are women with degrees in business and engineering (linked to traditionally male-dominant occupations) Literature Review Nature of women’s decision-making in relation to both fertility and occupation is relevant to the discussion Many studies of reproductive decision making report the perceived importance of meeting educational and career goals before starting a family o However, they fail to address material differences in work experience and the differences between careers in terms of how easily goals can be met Studies of women’s occupational aspirations and choices are similarly oblique in their attention to reproductive decision-making Assumptions from a human capital perspective that women’s higher subjective valuation of family life may reduce their commitment and attachment to paid employment or lead them to make traditional instead of non-traditional careers choices are now being challenged Labour-market and workplace forces may influence employment outcomes at least as much as family intentions and aspirations Women’s labour-force experiences may significantly shape the employment choices they make as mothers, sometimes challenging long-held beliefs and intentions Gerson found in her study women who intended to pursue careers after having children but later changed their mind due to blocked mobility or other unsatisfactory work experiences o Also, women who intended to stay home with their children returned to the paid labour force because they found their jobs unexpectedly satisfying and fulfilling www.notesolution.com Comparisons between students planning traditional and non-traditional careers found that the groups differed little in their intention to have kids Theoretical Framework In attempting to account for the fact that women in traditional female occupations have children sooner than women in non-traditional occupations, the effects of gender socialization must be considered The link between occupational choices and family decision making; intentions are often baffled by material circumstances of particular jobs and particular family relationships Data and Methods Findings women in the sample, who were well educated and predominantly middle-class would be expected to have access to and be knowledgeable about contraception methods to the extent that unplanned pregnancies might undermine the argument of a link between fertility and occupation, in this group at least the effect is evenly distributed between traditional and non-traditional occupations whether a baby was ‘planned’ and what the motivation was for the planning, are probably not questions that can be answered once the baby arrives more than two-thirds of the women who had been pregnant atleast once (25/36) described their pregnancies as planned o planning seemed to involve the achievement of a pregna
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