‘Men have careers, women have babies’: unequal parental care among Irish entrepreneurs

Drew, Eileen and Humbert, Anne L. (2012) ‘Men have careers, women have babies’: unequal parental care among Irish entrepreneurs. Community, Work & Family, 15 (1) . pp. 49-67. ISSN 1366-8803 [Article] (doi:10.1080/13668803.2011.580128)


This paper examines how entrepreneurial parents in Ireland negotiate their work and family roles, drawing upon a national survey of women and men entrepreneurs, to ascertain the degree to which entrepreneurship facilitates a more equitable sharing of domestic and caring tasks. Relatively few studies have examined familial and domestic task allocation in the context of entrepreneurship, as opposed to employment. The results suggest that mothers (and not fathers) adopted flexible working strategies; took on a disproportionate responsibility for caring and domestic labour; and experienced greater role conflict. Far from contradicting the prevailing findings of gender and employment issues, the study validates the gendered patterns of divergence between men and women and illustrates how they extend into entrepreneurship. Fathers worked significantly longer hours; their career trajectories were typically continuous, in full-time work, while mothers had more fragmented working patterns, reflecting absences for caring and adjustments such as part-time or working from home. It is still mothers, rather than fathers, who feel responsible for childcare arrangements and this imposes time constraints on their pursuit of entrepreneurship. The study points to the need for policy interventions to encourage entrepreneurship alongside co-parenting through childcare provision/subsidies and equal treatment in access to family-related leave.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Published online: 17 Aug 2011
Keywords (uncontrolled): Fathers; mothers; entrepreneurship; work strategies; flexible working; role conflict; childcare
Research Areas: A. > Business School > Economics
Item ID: 1091
Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2009 12:52
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:12
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/1091

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