Influences of marriage, motherhood, and other life events on australian women's employment aspirations


Journal Article

The study contributes to the understandings of how women negotiate work and family over the life course by investigating what factors impact young women's aspirations for full time, part-time, and other forms of work. Using data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) with its nationally representative sample of Australian women, the authors examine how women moving from their 20s to early 30s change their aspirations for employment (at the age of 35) after significant life events and changes, including the birth of a child. Multinomial logistic regression analyses across two transition periods (N = 7,505 and N = 7,584) showed that changes in employment aspirations co-occurred with movement into marriage or stable relationships and with changes in aspirations for family size. As young women become mothers, or move into situations in which motherhood is likely, many adjusted their employment aspirations away from full-time employment and toward part-time work. The findings suggest a growing awareness of the practical difficulties of balancing paid work and family roles within the current context of work and family policy and practice in Australia. Women's choices are not free of constraints; rather, younger generations of women negotiate work and family life by adjusting and changing their own aspirations within the context and circumstances of their lives. © The Author(s) 2011.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Johnstone, M; Lucke, J; Lee, C

Published Date

  • June 1, 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 267 - 281

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1471-6402

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0361-6843

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/0361684310388502

Citation Source

  • Scopus