Time triage: Exploring the temporal strategies that support entrepreneurship and motherhood

Marylyn Carrigan, Joanne Duberley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Women who are both mothers and paid workers are often represented as facing intractable temporal conflicts (Maher, 2009; Thompson, 1996) as they struggle to synchronize organizational work demands with family needs. Despite this, increasing numbers of women are entering the workplace, many of whom are setting up their own business with the intention of realizing the benefits of temporal flexibility that entrepreneurship supposedly bestows (DeMartino and Barbato, 2003). In this article we examine the experiences of one particular subset of women entrepreneurs ’ those for whom starting a business coincides with having children. The article utilizes a qualitative methodology involving 20 interviews with women entrepreneurs. The metaphor of triage is employed to explore the ways in which women entrepreneurs allocate their time and how they experience the process of allocation. The article concludes by discussing how, although many of our interviewees found the experience of self-employment liberating, the time pressures that women face and the continued lack of value given to their contribution, both economically and socially, can create huge conflicts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-118
Number of pages27
JournalTime and Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2013


  • Entrepreneurship
  • intensive mothering
  • time
  • triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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