The Tyranny of Modern Mothers: Understanding the Lived Realities of Motherhood among Middle-class Professional Women in Dhaka

Authors

  • Ishrat Khan Associate Professor, Department of Women & Gender Studies, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000, Bangladesh.

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3329/ssr.v40i1.69075

Keywords:

Motherhood, Professional Middle-Class Women, Role Conflict, Lived Experiences, Dhaka, Bangladesh

Abstract

Motherhood, which generally relates to a combination of joy, pleasure, and fulfilment, frequently defines the social status of women within their families and communities. Although as a social institution, motherhood provides women with expanded authority and responsibilities, these are frequently defined by gendered social norms and behaviours. As a result, there is a significant disparity between the myths and celebratory appeal of motherhood and the everyday realities that mothers encounter. Particularly, among Dhaka’s middle-class, where professional mothers are expected to strike a balance between their personal and professional roles, the challenges and constraints of motherhood double. In Bangladesh, the societal pressure on women to become mothers and fulfil their obligations results in a gendered division of labour and multifaceted problems that hardly received adequate attention in existing feminist literature. This empirical study explored the meanings and manifestations of motherhood, as well as the tension, role conflict, and dilemma that middle-class mothers in Dhaka encounter in everyday personal and professional lives. Guided by the principles of feminist research methodology, this qualitative study employed twenty-five Life History Interviews (LHI) and two Focus Group Discussions (FGD) with professional mothers in Dhaka. The results of this ethnographic study indicate that professional mothers in Dhaka experience challenges with household chores, caregiving roles, and professional responsibilities, which add a triple burden to their everyday lives.

Social Science Review, Vol. 40(1), Jun 2023 Page 57-72

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Published

2023-10-11

How to Cite

Khan, I. . (2023). The Tyranny of Modern Mothers: Understanding the Lived Realities of Motherhood among Middle-class Professional Women in Dhaka . Social Science Review, 40(1), 57–72. https://doi.org/10.3329/ssr.v40i1.69075

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