Understanding the "Mommy Tracks" : A Framework for Analyzing Work-Family Balance in the IT Workforce
Jeria L. Quesenberry (The Pennsylvania State University, USA), Eileen M. Trauth (The Pennsylvania State University, USA) and Allison J. Morgan (The Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2008
Despite the recent growth in the number of women in the American labor force, women are still underrepresented in the IT workforce. Key among the factors that account for this under-representation is balancing work-family issues. This article presents a framework for analyzing work-family balance from a field study of women employed in the American IT workforce. The findings are examined through the lens of the individual differences theory of gender and IT to show the range of ways in which work-family considerations influence women’s IT career decisions. The framework is used to support the theoretical argument that women exhibit a range of decisions regarding career and parenthood: the non-parent, the working parent, the back-on-track parent, and the off-the-track parent. These findings illustrate an identifiable theme that crosses geographical regions and timeframes; societal messages are complex and difficult to digest and are processed in different ways by different women, yet they contribute to the decisions women make about their professional and personal lives.