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Between Rocks and Hard Places: Pre-Career Women Debate Whether They Can Have It All

Track: Human Resources Management

Keywords: Emerging Adults; Focus Groups; Generation Y; Pre-Career Women; Qualitative Research; Work-Family Balance

The purpose of this paper is to present preliminary findings of a qualitative focus group study, designed to explore pre-career women’s perceptions of whether they can “have it all,” i.e., whether they can balance a professional career with a rewarding family life. We considered pre-career women to be emerging adults actively engaged in career and family explorations, amidst changing opportunities and constraints. We find that they want to “have it all” but are also deeply aware of the challenges. They have considered what it takes to have their all, seemingly aware that they cannot do so on their own. Implications and recommendations are discussed in closing.


Souha Ezzedeen -
York University

Marie-Helene Budworth -
York University

Susan Baker -
Morgan State University


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