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Friday, December 21, 2012

Women's Retirement Variety

Working Women’s Retirement[i]

         Much of the discussion about employment and retirement are gender biased.    This post is designed to help rebalance our understanding of contributions women make in paid employment and their considerations as the move into retirement. As I was surfing around I came upon an article that discusses nature of women’s employment and retirement. 
            The primary focus of the author, Dr, Christine Price, is two show and discuss similarity and differences between professional and non-professional women in the workforce. The method used to gather data was qualitative. Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior. The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making, not just what, where, when. Hence, smaller but focused samples are more often needed.[ii]In the conventional view, qualitative methods produce information only on the particular cases studied, and any more general conclusions are only propositions (informed assertions).
         Getting on with the story, the research found five significant areas in which there were differences between professional and nonprofessional women.  They are (1) attachment to work, (2) professional identity, (3) social contacts, (4) family roles and obligations, and (5) community contacts.  
         I will go briefly through these areas but I encourage you, if you are really interested, to go to the sources, displayed at the bottom of this post.

Attachment to Work
          Perhaps the most important factor, and I can identify with this is that “For the professional women, the decision to retire involved the ending of a career that dominated a significant portion of their adulthood and retirement was “…an ending to a significant chapter of their lives.”
         On the other side is the non-Professional women did not appear to have difficulty leaving their jobs in fact many felt relieved? No more “punching the clock” and nobody felt that their job had been “fulfilling.”

Professional Identity
         Just over half of the professionals also felt that they had lost some social status. There were three components to this:  (1) misconceptions of reduced professional capabilities once retired, (2) immediate loss of professional titles and (3) “the assumption of permanent availability to others.

         No any of the non-professionals identified with the reduction of social status. Some actually said retirement helped them feel “…an increased sense of importance and responsibility.  Perhaps this is because many of the non-professionals weren’t paid a lot and didn’t have much responsibility a work.

Social Contacts
         This refers to the loss of daily contacts.  The professional women “…missed the casual friendships established at work in addition to the feelings of satisfaction they gained from impacting the lives of others.” The nonprofessional women did not report theses feelings.

Family Roles and Obligations
         Understandably. While family roles were important to both groups, almost all… “of the nonprofessional women mentioned family roles and obligations as influencing their decisions to retire as well as how they structured their time after retirement. The same women also described the roles and related responsibilities of wife, daughter, mother and grandmother as taking priority after retirement. This makes it apparent that the non-professional women held family roles as central to their sense of self in retirement. This was not so with the professional women

Community Involvement
After retirement both groups of women’s lives were “…filled with volunteer and recreational activities.  Teachers served as substitute teachers (me to), or on various community boards related to teens-at-risk and educational issues.  These activities were less varied among the nonprofessional women. “Nine (60%) of the nonprofessional retirees served their communities by volunteering with local organizations “…including hospital, recreation center and senior center.

In summary there continued to be differences between retirements for persons with professional roles compared to those with “jobs” Jobs were experienced primarily as sources of income.    I think these findings are probably similar for men, I think I’ll surf around and see if I can find some information

[i]  Article source:
[ii]  Definition taken from wikapedia

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