This chapter seeks to consider the possibility of a blindness to considering the impact of mothering and post mothering (menopause) upon the workforce in terms of career development models. There has been a continuing ‘onward and upward’ tournament (Malhotra et al., 2010) in the UK which suggests workers should continue to strive to change jobs to seek higher pay and status moving around the country throughout their work life with little regards for their familial responsibilities. Despite a discourse which suggests the economic position of women has been heralded as positively changed as there is no longer a ‘glass ceiling’ for female employees who are willing to put work before their employment (Whiteside and Hardin, 2013), this provides a hollow victory. It fails to recognise that within the labour market, there will be parental years. Legislation in the UK and even Europe largely deals with ‘baby years’ but despite the inclusion of some ‘family friendly work-life balance’ initiatives, the experience for many parents is that the workplace represents a cause for work-family conflict. In part, this is because mothering is still stereotypically seen as a women’s role and increasing legislation provides an illusion of resolving discrimination (TUC, 2014). As such, there is little consideration for the development of mothers during their ‘career’ lifetime.

Research Question—What has been the experience for women historically, and how might this be re-thought in terms of development models today?