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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

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

Mary Ann Mason

Eve Mason Ekman

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195182675.003.0004

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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