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From professionals to professional mothers: how college-educated married mothers experience unemployment in the US

Rao, Aliya Hamid ORCID: 0000-0003-0674-4206 (2020) From professionals to professional mothers: how college-educated married mothers experience unemployment in the US. Work, Employment and Society, 34 (2). pp. 299-316. ISSN 0950-0170

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0950017019887334

Abstract

Unemployment influences life experiences and outcomes, but how it does so may be shaped by gender and parenthood. Because research on unemployment focuses on men’s experiences of unemployment, it presents as universal a process that may be gendered. This article asks: how do college-educated, heterosexual, married mothers experience involuntary unemployment? Drawing on in-depth interviews with unemployed mothers in the US, their husbands, and follow-up interviews, this article finds that the experience of job loss is tempered for mothers as they derive a culturally valued identity from motherhood which also anchors their lives. Husbands’ support emphasises that employment is one of several options mothers can pursue. Couples pivot attention to husbands’ careers as they worry about finances, often resulting in marital tensions. Using mothers’ unemployment as a case, this study demonstrates that unemployment has more divergent implications depending on gender and parenthood than prior theories suggest.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2020, SAGE Publications
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2022 09:21
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2022 09:12
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/115364

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