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Grateful slaves and self-made women: fact and fantasy in women's work orientations

Hakim, Catherine (1991) Grateful slaves and self-made women: fact and fantasy in women's work orientations. European Sociological Review, 7 (2). pp. 101-121. ISSN 0266-7215

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Although job segregation concentrates women in the lowest status and lowest paid jobs in the workforce, women are disproportionately satisfied with their jobs. This paper assesses the strength of women's work commitment in Western industrial societies, and finds it to be markedly lower than men's work commitment. Work commitment is also found to be a powerful predictor of women's work decisions and job choices. The majority of women aim for a homemaker career in which paid work is of secondary or peripheral importance, with strong support from their husbands for this strategy. A minority of women are committed to work as a central life goal, achieving jobs at higher levels of status and earnings. The existence of these two discrete groups within the female workforce explains the paradox of women's high satisfaction with poor jobs, and helps explain the persistence of job segregation. We conclude that more refined and sociological indicators of workforce participation must be developed to replace the standard measures used by labour economists.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 1991 Oxford University Press
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2009 08:27
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2019 06:15

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