Sociological Imagination: Western’s Undergraduate Sociology Student Journal


The debate has long raged over whether mothers should stay home with their children or return to the workforce following the birth of a child. Recent discourse on the modern family supports a paradigm shift to a more egalitarian family picture, evidencing the shifting beliefs of each new generation. However, women still expect to be primarily responsible for childcare in concert with pursuit of career aspirations. Research has shown a positive relationship between a mother’s education and being in the labour force.

Consistent with the views of the human capital approach and the possibility that a recent dip in maternal employment does not signify a trend, my first hypothesis is that the higher the education of the mother, the less likely she is to cite looking after children as her main activity. My second hypothesis is that the higher the education of the mother, the more likely she is to be employed. My hypothesis that education and employment would be positively related was supported by my findings. The introduction of marriage as a control variable highlighted the difference in the proportion of lesser-educated women’s employment status. It would appear from my findings that the correlation between highly educated women and being a stay-at-home mom may be trending upward.

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