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Mommy Track

  • By: Linda Ennis
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The term mommy track appeared in popular media in the late 1980s to describe the fact that women, especially mothers, with top educations and work records often found themselves passed over for promotion. In a 1989 Harvard Business Review article, Felice N. Schwartz suggested that women must choose between a “career primary” track, where she would be treated like a man in terms of work load, relocations and promotions; and a “career and family” track, which would pay less, offer fewer promotions, but offer more flexibility and a lower workload to accommodate childcare responsibilities. Scholars such as Joan Williams, Ann Crittenden, and Arlie Russell Hochschild argue that the labor market needs to rethink what constitutes an “ideal worker” and recognize the importance of childcare in ...

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