The Theory and Practice of Couples Managing Two Full-Time Careers in Malaysia

  • Rafiduraida Abdul Rahman

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis investigates the experiences of Malaysian dual-career couples combining career and family. Semi-structured qualitative interviews were used to collect data from 23 dual-career couples. The findings indicate that being in a dual-career relationship impacts upon how they perceive the family's provider role; career priorities; how decisions are made; and how family work is divided. The experiences described by the participants reflect their gender role ideologies and the salience of family and work roles. The results also reveal how interaction between partners can shape their ideologies and role salience, in addition to how religious and cultural values influence their gender attitudes. A number of challenges faced by the couples are identified. The supports and strategies that help them cope with housework, childcare and work demands are also critiqued. The thesis also highlights the implications of the government and organization's policies and support to the couples and the kind of policies and support that the couples would like to see introduced. The similarities and differences between dual-career couples in the Malaysian context compared with the West are explored. Additionally, the findings extend the use of gender role ideology and role salience theories to develop an understanding of the couples' experiences. A summarizing framework of their experiences based on the analysis is presented. In summary, the thesis firstly fills a gap in the dual-career couples' literature which has previously focused upon Western couples only. Secondly, the study has examines the utility of gender role ideology and role salience as a framework to understand the context of dual-career couples. Thirdly, the current research also makes an important methodological contribution in a Malaysian context. Finally, it provides some recommendations for the government and organizations in Malaysia in terms of policies that promote work-family balance and gender equality for dual-career women.
Date of Award31 Dec 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCatherine Cassell (Supervisor) & Sandra Fielden (Supervisor)


  • Role Salience
  • Work-Family Balance
  • Dual Career-Couples
  • Gender Role Ideology

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