Sex, Career and Family: Including an International Review of Women's Roles

By Robert N. Rapoport; Michael P. Fogarty et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter VIII
Career Pathways: What Produces the Work-prone Woman?
The discussion in the preceding chapters has highlighted some questions which require further consideration. The current chapter aims to contribute something towards their answers. The key questions are:
1. Is there a better way of classifying highly qualified women in relation to their career potentials? It has been seen that classifications according to current work situation or aspirations are affected by overriding current situational pressures, notably the bearing and rearing of young children. Other indicators, such as the value placed on the idea of women's careers, and intention to return to work at specified points later in the family cycle, have some utility, but can they be combined to form a still better way of estimating the potential contribution of such married women? The complexities of this question were brought out in the last chapter. The need now is for a more synoptic view which at the same time provides a simpler form of classification.
2. How much can the career-patterns, synoptically viewed as suggested above, be seen as the result of early life determinants (such as the quality of relationships in the individuals' parental family) and how much as the result of more current antecedent factors (such as the state of the marital relationship)? While there are limitations to the answers that can validly be provided by the survey method in unravelling the relative influences of early and late life experience, it is important to investigate this area as fully as possible because of the policy implications as well as the theoretical interest. Which are the effective factors of experience which produce the work-prone woman? Do they arise in early or late life experience? Or is there some particular combination?

In examining various life experiences to study their effect on the work/career patterns of highly qualified married women, selections have been made. The selections are based on what seems promising from prior research results. In the larger social environment of

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