Motherhood 2.0: Slow Progress for Career Women and Motherhood within the ‘Finnish Dream’

Charlotta Niemisto, Jeff Hearn, Carolyn Kehn, Annamari Tuori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


This article investigates the gendered dynamics of motherhood and careers, as voiced by professionals in the knowledge-intensive business sector in Finland. It is informed by the CIAR method through 81 iterative, in-depth interviews with 23 women and 19 men. Among the women respondents with no children, one child, or two children, three dominant forms of discursive talk emerge: ‘It takes two to tango’, ‘It’s all about time management’ and ‘Good motherhood 2.0’. Though Finland provides a seemingly egalitarian Nordic welfare state context, with the ‘Finnish Dream’, women face contradictions between expectations of women as full-time ideal workers pursuing masculinist careers and continuing responsibilities at home, performing ‘good motherhood’. The women’s double strivings meet the double constraining demands of these ideals. The gendered pressures are imposed on the women by themselves, male colleagues, the organisation more broadly and society, leading the women to enact a form of ‘bounded individualism’.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)696-715
Number of pages20
JournalWork, Employment and Society
Issue number4
Early online date12 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes


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