Reports on an investigation into the life span development of women who have achieved eminence within commerce, industry and public life. Presents results based on in‐depth interviews with 48 highly successful women. Investigates the internal dynamics of women′s careers. Derives a stage model of the career development of successful women from an integration of data on work histories and non‐work family issues. Depicts schematically the amount of identity invested in each life role over time and the extent of the interaction between these roles over the life span. The majority of successful women display high career centrality, working continuously and full‐time, fitting domestic responsibilities around their work. Concludes that women are still expected to conform to a male model of career success.
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