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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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Mothers' Choices: Staying the Course, Opting Out, or Dropping Down

Mothers' Choices: Staying the Course, Opting Out, or Dropping Down

(p.49) 4 Mothers' Choices: Staying the Course, Opting Out, or Dropping Down
Mothers on the Fast Track

Mary Ann Mason

Eve Mason Ekman

Oxford University Press

Almost all mothers consider, at least briefly, whether they can handle both a challenging career and a young family. Roughly half of women who begin a fast-track job will stay the course, but a substantial number, mostly mothers, will drop out or drop down to a less demanding track. Doing so usually is not really a matter of choice even though some mothers believe it is. This chapter points out that working parents are forced out by backward family-leave policies, the escalating demands of the workplace, and a society which increasingly points a finger at mothers' ambitions. In this sense, the second tier and a temporary stay-at-home option are welcome alternatives to the rigid 9-to-5 track. But most mothers do not realize that dropping down will close doors permanently, even when a part-time track is advertised as a temporary alternative.

Keywords:   family-leave policies, working parents, stay-at-home, professional women, career–family tradeoff

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