We assessed career, marriage, and motherhood expectations of 118 White Women and 82 Women of Color in 1993, when they were seniors at five northeastern U.S. colleges. Sixteen years later, in 2009, 77.5 % responded to our survey and answered questions about their career, marriage, motherhood, attitudes, and life satisfaction outcomes. As seniors, they wanted it all, career, marriage, and motherhood. In 2009, nearly two thirds were employed full time, 91 % had married, nearly three quarters were mothers, and about 57 % were combining full-time employment and motherhood. Comparisons are made among three role-status outcome groups: Have It All (mothers, employed full time); Traditional (mothers, employed part time or not at all), and Employed Only (childfree, employed full time). Educational level of the women did not predict role status. Spouses’ educational level relative to the women’s predicted role status, with Have It All women more likely to be married to less educated spouses than Traditional or Employed Only women. The role-status groups did not differ in their attitudes toward women in general, but Have It All mothers had lower levels of employment-related concerns about separation from their children than Traditional mothers. Most of the women still wanted to have it all. Many Traditional women looked forward to returning to employment, and many of the Employed Only women wanted to have children. Being a mother was associated with higher life satisfaction than being childfree. Results are discussed in terms of multiple-role theory and the positive influence of having family roles in the mix.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 15, 2012
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