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Pavalko, Eliza K. & Elder, Glen H., Jr. (1993). Women Behind the Men: Variations in Wives' Support of Husbands' Career. Gender & Society, 7, 548-567.


Recent feminist literature has begun to call attention to the diverse linkages between work and family, including the extensive work married women often do for their husbands' careers. Using a longitudinal sample of American women born around 1910, this study employs quantitative and qualitative data to compare different aspects of wives' support and to develop an understanding of how women of their generation constructed their involvement. The authors begin their analysis by comparing wives' support across husbands' occupations and then examining differences in activities and the ways in which women describe their relationships to their husbands' work. They find considerable variation in the way women constructed their relationships to husbands' careers. The evidence suggests that women who provided services directly related to their husbands' work may have been the most satisfied with their involvement.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Gender & Society


Pavalko, Eliza K.
Elder, Glen H., Jr.