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Impact of parenthood on women’s careers in the IT sector – a study in the Indian context

Merlin Mythili Shanmugam (Rajalakshmi School of Business, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India)

Gender in Management

ISSN: 1754-2413

Article publication date: 3 July 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to analyse the impact of certain factors (such as working mothers’ attitudes towards career role salience, notion of career success, work-life balance and the impact of organisational support systems available for childcare) on career persistence, despite parenthood, and career re-entry after parenthood. It is conducted in relation to new age, young working mothers of the booming IT sector in India.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey questionnaire was administered to 138 working mothers in the IT sector to analyse the impact of working mothers’ career role salience, notion of career success, work-life balance and the impact of organisational support systems available for childcare on career persistence, despite parenthood.

Findings

The findings state that re-entry is also a growing phenomenon, in as much as career breaks are an accepted reality. Career role salience and notions of career success are important predictors of career re-entry of young mothers. Most importantly, this study highlights the significant role of the trusted, extended family support system, that is characteristically unique to Indian social fabric, in enabling women’s career persistence and career re-entry after motherhood.

Research limitations/implications

Like most survey research, this study’s validity is also limited to the findings on the self-reported responses. Nevertheless, the study points to new areas to be researched, such as the possibility of the same findings with older mothers who have spent considerable years in their careers, or whether the same sample would answer differently after a few years.

Practical implications

The paper includes implications for society and organisations, concerning opting out, and for undertaking genuine initiatives to enable and support women to re-enter their careers after breaks, so that the decision to persist, exit or re-enter their careers remains the privileged choice of women employees.

Originality/value

The paper fulfils an identified need to study how parenthood affects women’s careers in the IT sector and need for organisations in India to understand the practicality of women employees’ needs to integrate work and life.

Keywords

Citation

Shanmugam, M.M. (2017), "Impact of parenthood on women’s careers in the IT sector – a study in the Indian context", Gender in Management, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 352-368. https://doi.org/10.1108/GM-11-2016-0177

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited