This study explores the factors that have an impact on the decisions of educated Indian mothers in South Africa who are not pursuing careers and answers the on-going questions about why Indian women pursue tertiary education but do not pursue careers. Secondly, this study also helps to understand the identity negotiation that these mothers go through – how they negotiate their various identities and the intersection of their gender and cultural identities that affect their decision not to pursue a career. The research aims to emphasise the extent and impact of the cultural roles that educated Indian mothers have to deal with. This study makes a theoretical contribution and conveys pioneering knowledge to assist top management to understand the skills shortage of this minority group and create an understanding of the reasons why Indian women decide not to pursue careers, and of their identity negotiation in the process. A qualitative research approach, using in-depth, semi-structured life story interviews, was used in the study to gain a deeper understanding of the reasons why educated Indian women are not pursuing careers. A non-probability sampling strategy (snowball and purposive sampling) was used, and therefore a total of 17 Muslim and Hindu participants were interviewed in the main study. Content analysis was used to analyse the data with the Atlas-Ti programme. The results exemplify that an individual‟s identity is formed by the cultural context and that Indian gender identities were instilled in these women from a young age. The women in the study highlighted that motherhood and family obligations take precedence over any other identity they possess. At first the women seemed despondent with the decision to leave their careers. However, as time went by they felt that cultural obligations were more important and accepted their cultural identity.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2014.