Sustainability in Combining Career and Care: Challenging Normative Beliefs about Parenting


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Marloes L. van Engen, Department of Human Resource Studies, Tilburg University, PO Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands [e-mail:].


In this introduction to the special issue on “Sustainability in Combining Career and Care,” we argue that demographic developments such as ageing populations demand attention to the long-term consequences of using family friendly arrangements. In order to create and support sustainability in combining career and care, we address normative beliefs about parenting, behavior or “choices” in combining work and family, and outcomes for individual careers, couples, and children. We provide an integrative framework for combining career and care, thereby incorporating the individual, organizational, and societal level of the work–family interface. In this first paper, the eight empirical contributions to this special issue are introduced, the collective message being that normative beliefs about parenting need to be challenged in order to create change and promote sustainability for working parents.