Combining Motherhood and Employment in Sri Lanka: Preferences, Structures and Moral Rationalities

By Thilakshi Kodagoda and Simon Duncan.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Over the last few decades women have made rapid progress in educational attainment and have entered the labour force at a faster rate than men. However, women’s identities and workload continue to be defined around caring work, especially for their children. This paper examines the contradictions of mothers’ work-life balance. It does so through an analysis of how successfully (or unsuccessfully) professional and managerial mothers in Sri Lanka combine motherhood with paid work and how they understand this in terms of gendered identities and social norms. This example also allows an evaluation of western derived theories about mothers’ decision making in the context of a developing, Asian country. The paper demonstrates that working women’s mothering is responsible for the formation of a gendered identity which varies according to different socio-cultural and religious opportunities and constraints.

Keywords: Employment, Motherhood, Gender Identity, Sri Lanka

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.491-502. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 667.106KB).

Thilakshi Kodagoda

Doctoral Student, Department of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Bradford, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK

Thilakshi Kodagoda is a senior lecturer in the Department of Human Resource Management at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. She has served as Head of the Department of Commerce and teaches Organisational Behaviour and Organisational Psychology. Her research work focuses on the following topics: work-life stress, motherhood and employment, work-life balance and women owned business. Currently, she is reading for PhD at the University of Bradford, UK.

Simon Duncan

Professor, School of Social Sciences, University of Bradford, Bradford, West Yorkshire, UK

Research expertise in personal life and family change, work -life balance, motherhood and employment, and gender inequality in Europe.


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