Details of Publication 353 for Project A170:

Johnstone M & Lee C. Young Australian women’s aspirations for work and family: Individual and sociocultural differences. Sex Roles, 2009; 61: 204-220

The arguments underlying Hakim’s Lifestyle Preference Theory have initiated debate over the importance of individual preferences, versus social and structuralconstraints, in women’s work and family patterns. This paper investigates the role of sociocultural factors in lifestyle preferences. A total of 6,929 Australian women,aged 25–30 years, from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH), were categorised into Hakim’s Lifestyle Preference Groups, based on theiraspirations for work and family. Rather than cutting across social groups, membership into Lifestyle Preference Groups was significantly related to sociodemographic variables. Further, the findings suggested that Hakim’s definition of ‘adaptive’ women may be too limited to capture the variability of the large number of young Australian women aspiring to combine paid work and family.

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