Published Papers - Abstract 196

Everingham C, Stevenson D & Warner-Smith P. 'Things are getting better all the time' ? Challenging the narrative of women's progress from a generational perspective. Sociology, 2007; 41(3): 419-437

This article addresses the dilemmas associated with continuing to interpret women’s experience through the lens of a progress narrative that emerged to representthe aspirations of women during the peak of the women’s movement.The central theme of this narrative is that gender will no longer act as a social constraint once women are recognized as workers as well as mothers. Drawing on the theoretical framework of Karl Mannheim and empirical data from in-depth interviews undertaken as part of a generational study of Australian women, the article argues that the progress narrative no longer inspires young women, who take gender equity for granted. Although motherhood continues to shape their working arrangements, the discourses they use to make sense of the tensions involved are embedded in a new Zeitgeist which prioritizes ‘choice’, not ‘equity’. The implications of this shift for the ‘work-life balance’ social policy agenda are then considered.