In recent years, many married women have not only entered the working world, but are also rapidly climbing the career ladder. This has given rise to an increasing number of dual-career couples who have to constantly navigate between work and family life. Being in this position, coupled with Indians – generally regarded as one of the more traditional cultural groups in South Africa, with an emphasis on male dominance – provides a unique and interesting context for the study. In this study, the perceptions of Indian dual-career couples towards the wives’ career advancement are explored. The study places a specific focus on the role of the husband in the dual-career arrangement by determining the impact that the spouse has on the balancing of work and family life and, ultimately, the impact he has on the wife’s career progression. I embarked on this study from an interpretivist stance in terms of which a qualitative research strategy, using in-depth, semi-structured life-story interviews, was employed in order to gain a greater understanding of the various factors that mould the perceptions that couples currently hold with regard to the career advancement of women. Purposive as well as snowball sampling strategies were used to identify nine dual-career Indian couples, who constituted the sample for this study. A comprehensive analysis was conducted that involved thematic analysis. This process was aided by using the qualitative analysis software Atlas.ti. The results of this study reveal that, although there is a shift towards greater acceptance of career women, the spouses have not reached a level of parity as Indian women are not completely emancipated from their duties in the home domain. In addition, masculinity and the male ego were running threads throughout this study, tying in with various aspects of the study. My thesis contributes to the growing research on dual-career couples by focusing on an under-researched, but crucial aspect of the dual-career arrangement, and therefore opens avenues for further research.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2013.