Dissonance in women's commuting? The experience of exurban employed mothers in Israel

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Women's work is mainly divided between unpaid domestic labour and paid jobs, both reflecting their subordinate position. Most women experience a spatial discontinuity between these roles, which are performed in different places, namely home and workplace. Research points to the negative impact of home-work separation on the daily routine of employed women, especially in peripheral suburbs. This study explores the personal experience of commuting among Israeli exurban married mothers who are employed full time in the central city of the nearest metropolis. These characteristics are expected to reflect an especially heavy load on the lives of women, and thus to shape their personal experience. Findings show that women have developed positive attitudes to their commuting; mostly, they use the long trip for a mental shift, contemplation and relaxation. The women interviewed were well aware of the burden of their commuting, but they also acknowledged that their long journey affords them a 'pause' otherwise denied them in their daily routine. Although findings were drawn from a small number of interviewees, they indicate two dissonances: one among the women, who tended to minimise their hardship and focus on the more agreeable aspects of their trips; and one among researchers, who have failed to see that at least some women have the mental ability to shape their commuting into a positive experience. The positive attitudes of the women interviewed are rooted experientially, in sounds and rural landscape, and reflect the influence of territorial socialisation as part of local culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)731-748
Number of pages18
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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