Please check out the following recent publication from OOW member Aliya Hamid Rao: “From Professionals to Professional Mothers: How College-educated Married Mothers Experience Unemployment in the US.” Work, Employment and Society. Online First.
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.