Washington: Mothers are more likely than other employees to leave jobs in male-dominated fields which require long working hours, a new US study has found.

This trend was not observed in balanced or female-dominated occupations, researchers from Indiana University said.

"Mothers were 52 percent more likely than other women to leave their jobs if they were working a 50-hour week or more, but only in occupations dominated by men," said Youngjoo Cha, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at IU Bloomington.

"Many of these are lucrative fields, such as law, medicine, finance and engineering," Cha said. The study, published in the journal Gender & Society, reveals how overwork contributes to occupational segregation and stalls efforts to narrow the gender gap in white-collar workplaces.

Many of the mothers who leave these jobs exit the job market entirely because of the lack of suitable part-time positions in these fields. The study analyzed data collected from the Survey of Income and

Programme Participation, a national longitudinal household survey, conducted by the US Census Bureau.
It included 382 occupations, 173 of which were considered male-dominated, where men made up 70 per cent or more of the workforce.

The study found that in male-dominated occupations, overwork was more likely than in balanced fields or female-dominated fields. Mothers in male-dominated occupations were more discouraged despite the fact that the women who survived in those more masculine fields may on average be more committed to work than overworking women in other jobs.

Higher education levels make it more likely that women stay in their jobs, but not enough to overcome the discouraging effect of being an overworking mother, researchers found.

Meanwhile, men (whether fathers or not) and women without children were not more likely to leave their jobs in overworking fields.


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