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Mothers on the Fast TrackHow a New Generation Can Balance Family and Careers$
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Mary Ann Mason and Eve Mason Ekman

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195182675

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182675.001.0001

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The “Mother Problem”: Up, Out, or Sidelined?

The “Mother Problem”: Up, Out, or Sidelined?

Chapter:
(p.1) 1 The “Mother Problem”: Up, Out, or Sidelined?
Source:
Mothers on the Fast Track
Author(s):

Mary Ann Mason

Eve Mason Ekman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182675.003.0001

This chapter suggests that most women are neither steadily rising to equal representation in top positions, nor dropping out in large numbers. Research shows that highly educated women rarely leave their chosen profession entirely. Instead they become caught in a “second tier” within or allied with their profession where they take breaks for family needs but return to work, sometimes on a reduced schedule but frequently full time, until retirement. It is between ages thirty and forty that women change career direction, and this is the decade when women are mostly likely to drop into the second tier. The discussion argues that the key to advancement is figuring out the “mother problem.” Children are a wonder and a blessing, not a problem; but motherhood is.

Keywords:   highly educated women, women's careers, family needs, motherhood, career direction

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