“For others its a job, for me its my life” Cover Image

„Másoknak ez munka, nekem szívügyem”
“For others its a job, for me its my life”

The role of ethnicity in graduate Roma women’s constructions of work and family

Author(s): Judit Durst, Anna Fejős, Zsanna Nyírő
Subject(s): Gender Studies, Family and social welfare, Ethnic Minorities Studies, Identity of Collectives
Published by: MTA TK Szociológiai Intézet
Keywords: minority culture of mobility; ethnicity; work-life balance; work preferences; graduate Roma women

Summary/Abstract: How is work-family balance achieved in a country where working mothers must take their choices under considerable economic constraints? Besides these constraints, how can women of a stigmatized minority, who participate in a highly discriminative social context, achieve their desired work-life balance? This paper demonstrates the role of ethnicity in graduate Roma mothers’ constructions of their work and family preferences and in balancing these two life spheres. Based on qualitative life story interviews with 26 Roma women, we attempt to reveal how preferences towards work and family are constructed. We claim that in reconciling work and family, there is no such thing as “free choice” among “individual preferences”, because the latter is always dependent on class, gender, habitus, networks and experiences, as well as on ethnicity and a number of other social constraints. If we are about to understand the work-life balance strategies of minority women, we have to on the one hand expand the widely used model explaining the difficulties of western majority women working in the corporate sector. While doing so, we need not only to expand the dimensions of “family”, as the few studies on minority groups suggest, but also to analyse the meaning of “work” for minority women. On the other hand, we also need to understand the particular mobility path – the “minority culture of mobility” – that characterizes many first generation graduate Roma women and play a role in their construction of work preferences.

  • Issue Year: 6/2016
  • Issue No: 2
  • Page Range: 198-225
  • Page Count: 28
  • Language: Hungarian