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A systematic reflection upon dual career couples

  • Rusconi, Alessandra
  • Solga, Heike

Particularly among the highly educated, a persistent upward trend in female employment rates has characterized western industrialized countries in the last decades. Yet, strong gender inequalities persist in the career chances of equally highly qualified men and women. Women are still underrepresented in executive/ leading positions in both the private and public sector of the economy. We argue that such gender inequalities are also due to the fact that the majority of highly educated women lives with an equally highly educated partner. For these women the realization of dual careers becomes ever more important and represents an essential prerequisite for their own professional development. Following Phyllis Moen's 'linked lives' idea, we will argue that the achievement or failure of dual-career arrangements is a 'social-relational process' (Moen 2003a: 10) and that partners' lives are embedded with and influenced by each other. In particular, we will discuss how this entwining occurs, which processes at different levels play a role, and how these different processes interact with each other. Finally, we will give some suggestions on the direction for future research.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets with number SP I 2008-505.

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Date of creation: 2008
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbslm:spi2008505
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  1. Barbara Petrongolo, 2004. "Gender Segregation in Employment Contracts," CEP Discussion Papers dp0637, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Elke Holst, 2005. "Frauen in Führungspositionen: massiver Nachholbedarf bei großen Unternehmen und Arbeitgeberverbänden," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 72(3), pages 49-56.
  3. Dora L. Costa & Matthew E. Kahn, 1999. "Power Couples: Changes in the Locational Choice of the College Educated, 1940-1990," NBER Working Papers 7109, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Emer Smyth, 2002. "Gender Differentiation and Early Labour Market Integration across Europe," MZES Working Papers 46, MZES.
  5. Kimberlee Shauman & Yu Xie, 1996. "Geographic mobility of scientists: Sex differences and family constraints," Demography, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 455-468, November.
  6. Christine Schwartz & Robert Mare, 2005. "Trends in educational assortative marriage from 1940 to 2003," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(4), pages 621-646, November.
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