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Struggling with Maternity Leave Policies and Practices: A Poststructuralist Feminist Analysis of Gendered Organizing

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Abstract:

Unlike previous research on maternity leave using Department of Labor statistics, survey data, or analyses of single cases or texts, this study explores 15 women's discursive constructions of their workplace experiences while pregnant, on maternity leave, and upon return to paid work. Through a poststructuralist feminist analysis, findings not only show how these women positioned themselves and others vis-à-vis gendered discourses and organizing, but also how this positioning process shaped possibilities for practice in particular ways. The ironies and contradictions exposed by participants' discourse reflect ongoing feminist debates about the productive management of dialectic tensions and suggest directions for change in micropractices and macroprocesses of gendered organizing.

Keywords: Gendered Organizing; Maternity Leave; Poststructuralist Feminism; Pregnancy

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0090988042000318495

Publication date: February 1, 2005

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