SOC244H5 Chapter Notes - Chapter 18: Longitudinal Study, Human Capital, Childlessness

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Published on 31 Jul 2011
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UTM
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Sociology
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SOC244H5
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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
Womens jobs and careers now monopolize their time and energy
Education, Work, and Family Decision-making: Finding theright time to have a baby
Challenges of combining family responsibilities and paid employment have been documented at
length
oThe combination of work and family has a different effect on women than on men
oBecoming a parent has a more profound impact on women because motherhood
becomes more difficult if the mother has a paid job
Womens 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
oWomen 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
oThis 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
Ransons findings suggest that paid work may be a major factor shaping womens life cycles,
including if and when they become mothers
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 womens 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
oHowever, 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 womens occupational aspirations and choices are similarly oblique in their attention
to reproductive decision-making
Assumptions from a human capital perspective that womens 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
Womens 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
oAlso, 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
oplanning seemed to involve the achievement of a pregnancy at a time which for many
reasons, seemed to be right
Reaching the Right Time: Women with Children
several reasons for the rightness of timing were cited in combination
most common were age, financial security (usually meant purchasing a house), job security and
achievement of professional goals for both or just one partner
seemed like the next logical step
comfort within her marriage, biological clock
Women who were teachers, this ongoing job security was achieved by a permanent teaching
certificate and a permanent contract with the school board
www.notesolution.com

Document Summary

Chapter 18: education, work and family decision- making: finding the right time to have a baby.  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.  women"s exclusive biological capacity to bear children has come to be generalized to an exclusive capacity to care for them.