Explaining career motivation among female doctors in the Netherlands: The effects of children, views on motherhood and work-home cultures

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The gender imbalance in senior medical positions is often attributed to an alleged lack of motivation on the part of female doctors, especially those with young children. Some researchers argue that an unsupportive work-home culture in the medical workplace also plays a role. This study investigates whether having children (and the age of the youngest child) affects female doctors' career motivation and whether this relationship is mediated by views on motherhood and the supportiveness of the work-home culture. Cross-sectional data collected on 1070 Dutch female doctors in 2008 indicates that neither having children nor the age of the youngest child significantly affects the career motivation of female doctors. However, views on motherhood and a supportive work-home culture do affect female doctors' career motivation. Governmental and organizational policies aimed at maternal employment and improving the work-life balance are discussed in terms of their effectiveness in supporting highly educated working women.

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