"If it had been only me, it would not have worked out": Women negotiating conflicting challenges of ICT work and family in Norway

June 2022
Bristol University Press

Women working in information and communication technology (ICT), more than women in many other occupations, are under a double pressure: as a minority in a male-dominated professional field, and as women in a ‘greedy’ and 24/7 work environment where the ‘ideal worker’ is still shaped according to a male norm involving less responsibility for childcare. This study explores how women in ICT in the gender-egalitarian culture of Norway negotiate the relationship between work and family responsibilities. The analysis builds on interviews with 22 women working in ICT in research, development and innovation across diverse sectors in Norway in 2017–18. Most of these women experienced that their career development required private support and work-life balance solutions, including publicly available childcare, were insufficient. Rather it was the partner’s predictable and less greedy work patterns, not work-life balance policies targeting women, that enabled the women to combine ICT work and family responsibilities.