Women “Having It all”: Family versus Work a Case Study in a Norwegian Company in Brazil



gender discrimination, multinational corporation, maternity, paternity, careers


 We investigate the relationship between parentality and careers in a Norwegian corporation in Brazil, and  using Joan Acker’s theory Gendered Organizations, we study how parental life could affect work life. Acker’s framework, especially Process 4: ‘the internal mental work of individuals making sense of their place and opportunities in the gendered organization’ is useful on societal, organizational and individual levels. We develop the framework by comparing men’s and women’s mental work regarding parentality and career opportunities. Results show that women want longer leaves, knowing that maternity is an obstacle. Men do not want longer father leave, and do not see fatherhood as obstacle. However, women agree with men about the company being supportive of their family life. We question the idea of “choices” for women since maternity is central when obstacles to careers are analyzed. Discrimination is blunt; women see it, even if they do not know how exactly it works. “Having it all” is a central theme of lack of satisfaction for women, in Brazil as
elsewhere. Exporting gender equality in the context of this multinational company might be more an expectation, perception and/or myth than a reality, despite the current official statements. An analysis based on Acker and Brazilian authors point to the need of approaching organizations/careers x family considering e.g. parentality and care work, rather than maternity only. This work offers practical contributions to the diversity discussion and we suggest, for further studies, inclusion of e.g. race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and class.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biographies

Magdalena Cortese Coelho, UFRGS

PhD in business administration from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, having produced
this research at Uppsala University, Sweden, in the Erasmus Mundus Euroculture Master’s degree.
Master diploma recognized in Brazil by the Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Program in Human
Sciences from Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Institute of Gender Studies. Teacher for the
associate program in Business Administration of the National Service for Commercial Learning
(SENAC/RS). Researcher in the CNPq Research Group on Work and Knowledge in Contemporaneity
at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul. Research and publications on the topic of gender and

Anneli Irene Häyrén, University of Gävle

PhD in business administration, organization, and gender at The Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University, Sweden, in cooperation with the Department of Business Administration, Uppsala  University. Post-doctorate affiliation at the Centre for Gender Research, Uppsala University, with a research focus on sexual and gender harassment and further on Masculinity studies and gender equality in work life. Affiliated lecturer at Gavle University, Sweden, and researcher in the field of management accounting in cooperation with AES at Stockholm Business School.



How to Cite

Cortese Coelho M, Irene Häyrén A. Women “Having It all”: Family versus Work a Case Study in a Norwegian Company in Brazil. Organ. Soc. [Internet]. 2023Aug.21 [cited 2024May25];30(106). Available from: https://periodicos.ufba.br/index.php/revistaoes/article/view/47649