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Volume 22 Issue 5 (September 2015), Pages 437-533

'Success Is Satisfaction with What You Have'? Biographical Work–Life Balance of Older Female Employees in Public Administration (pages 474-494)

This paper analyses the situation of older female employees in the public service sector in Germany, comparing women with middle‐level qualifications to highly‐qualified women in order to explore the intersection of age, qualification and work–life trajectories. The paper theorizes on the notion of work–life balance as experienced across the life course, supporting a holistic and long‐term focus. In particular two questions are emphasized: What does a 'work–life balance' mean in the biography of older female employees; and how do they balance the different areas of their lives? To explore these further, the concept of 'biographical work–life balance' is introduced. This concept embraces a holistic perspective, which is particularly important for the wellbeing of older workers. The paper aims to show the effect of different social discourses, working biographies and policies on perceived work–life balance over the entire life course based on data from narrative biographical interviews with older female employees in the public service sector in Germany.

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