Original Research

Maternity and paternity leave and career progression of black African women in dual-career couples

Lucky L. Motaung, Mark H.R. Bussin, Renjini M. Joseph
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 15 | a902 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v15i0.902 | © 2017 Lucky L. Motaung, Mark H.R. Bussin, Renjini M. Joseph | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 20 December 2016 | Published: 28 September 2017

About the author(s)

Lucky L. Motaung, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Mark H.R. Bussin, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa
Renjini M. Joseph, Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management, University of Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Orientation: The study focused on examining the perceptions of dual-career couples at a stateowned company about the influence of taking maternity and paternity leave on the career progression of black African women in middle management and leadership occupations.

Research purpose: The primary purpose of the study was to identify core barriers in relation to maternity and paternity leave that contribute negatively in the career progression of black African women in dual-career couples.

Motivation for the study: To obtain insight into the underrepresentation and progression of black African women within dual-career couples, in middle management and leadership occupations.

Research design, approach and method: This study was qualitative, comprising a sample of 10 black African women and 10 black African men, with data collected through in-depth semistructured interviews. Thematic analysis was utilised to analyse the interview dialogues.

Main findings: The findings established that taking maternity leave has a negative influence on the career progression of black African women in dual-career couples at the state-owned company. The participants further confirmed that involuntary time off work and productiveness were principal influencing barriers of taking maternity leave, leading to other undesirable consequences, such as unproductiveness and reliability.

Practical and managerial implications: The state-owned company should review its current talent management and recruitment and selection policies, in order to positively contribute to increasing the representation and facilitating career progression of black African women within dual-career couples, in middle management and leadership occupations.

Contributions or value-add: Insights were provided on the influences of taking maternity and paternity leave in the underrepresentation and progression of black African women within dual-career couples, in middle management and leadership occupations.


Keywords

motherhood; work-life support; discrimination

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