Gender and career among highly educated immigrant-descendants
The project is part of CORE – Centre for Research on Gender Equality.
The children of some of the large groups of immigrants are growing up, beginning their working careers, and starting families. Many of the so-called descendants take higher education, and this is especially true of women (Olsen, 2017). At the same time, we have little knowledge about these highly educated women after they finish their education, and what their aspirations and work adjustments look like before, and after they start a family.
We will investigate these issues by using a large qualitative data material consisting of interviews with 62 descendants working in medicine, law and finance. Most of the informants have a Pakistani background, while some are Turkish or Indian descendants. They are all children of the labor immigrants who came to Norway in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, and they occupy what can be termed “elite professions”. In this sense, they are examples of individuals who have had success in Norway. We will analyze how both women and men reflect on the adjustment between family and work before and after they have children. Additionally, we look at the degree and manner in which we find gendered patterns in aspirations and conditions to pursue careers.
Research suggests that it is only when you have children that the differences between men and women in working life accelerate (Halrynjo and Lyng 2009). It is particularly interesting to study the work-family adaptations of the descendants, because a large share have grown up with gender traditional norms and practices. Does these experiences transmit to the work-family adaptations and reflections of highly educated and "successful" descendant women and men?