Opting Out


  • Pamela Stone
  • Jennifer Kohler
  • Lisa Ackerly Hernandez

Document type: Encyclopedia Entry

Appears in: Work and Family Encyclopedia

Year: 2010


  • Career(s)
  • Gender
  • Mothers/Motherhood
  • Work and Family


  • Sociology


Opting out is a term most commonly understood to describe the decision of married women to voluntarily quit professional careers and remain out of the labor force for a relatively extended period of time (beyond the duration of parental leave) during which they are engaged in family caregiving, primarily motherhood, to the exclusion of paid employment. While scholars have long recognized that women use a variety of strategies to reconcile work and family responsibilities, including time out of the labor force, opting out, by virtue of the attention given it by the media, has assumed special prominence and a distinct identity.

Link: Opting_Out encyclopedia