Work-Family Role Choices for Women in Their 20s and 30s: From College Plans to Life Experiences

Synopsis

This study follows over 200 women making employment and family choices during their first decade after college graduation. Based on interview responses, the authors organize the women into four life choice categories: Careerists, Homemakers, Breadwinners, and Nesters. Using models of adult change as well as extensive quotes and empirical analyses, the authors identify the facilitators and barriers for each alternative. Women relate the consequences of each choice for themselves, their spouses, and their children. While each group faced unique problems, in all groups, women were satisfied with career and family aspects of their choices if they followed their individual values, found supportive friends, coworkers and spouses, and if they worked in those rare challenging jobs in family-supportive organizations. The book explores the ways women, spouses, counselors, and employers can facilitate satisfying life choices and how to anticipate the questions each group faces in their next decade.