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Mothers Move In and Out of the Workforce

Mothers Move In and Out of the Workforce

Research examining the complexities and changes in workforce participation is reported in "Women’s Employment Patterns During Early Parenthood: A Group-Based Trajectory Analysis," published in the Journal of Marriage and Family in February 2005. Authors Kathryn Hynes and Marin Clarkberg of Cornell University conducted a complex analyses of data on more than 2400 women using data from the 1979-1998 waves of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. They explain the difference between measuring employment transitions at particular points in time and seeking to understand employment trajectory over a period of time. They utilized “a relatively new method, the group-based trajectory method” to “examine the diverse ways that mothers of infants and young children negotiate the continuing decision to be employed or not.” Hynes and Clarkberg note: “scholars frequently imply that at the first birth, women divide themselves into two groups: workers and homemakers.” And they conclude, “Women’s employment patterns are characterized by significant amounts of change over the life course.”

Hynes, K. & Clarkberg, M. (2005), Women’s Employment Patterns During Early Parenthood: A Group-Based Trajectory Analysis. Journal of Marriage and Family. 67: 222-239.

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