Women as mothers: Changing role perceptions an intergenerational study

Ulanowsky, Carole Elizabeth (2009). Women as mothers: Changing role perceptions an intergenerational study. PhD thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000ed2d


Significant change in the positioning of motherhood in women's lives is starkly revealed by comparing the 1970s and 1990s. Though barely a generation apart, these two decades afforded socio-cultural settings of distinctive contrast. In the 1970s, for example, mothers felt constrained to put their working lives on hold and focus their energies on raising children. In the intervening years, however, feminist discourse, in parallel with economic and demographic change, served to strengthen the value of paid work above unpaid endeavour. By the 1990s, an increasing number of women would fit motherhood into the interstices of their working lives. These several considerations led to a broad theoretical enquiry, including the issues of gender, work, and the needs of mothers and their infant children. The focus has been on researching perceptions of motherhood among women representative of occupational groups 1, 2 and 3 only (SOC, 2000). High functioning women experience a particular tension between motherhood and other life roles, as the literature testifies. The aim of uncovering the essence of personal experience suggested a qualitative approach to data collection, within a feminist framework.

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