Career Development of Working Mothers: Helping and Hindering Factors in Doing Well During the COVID-19 Pandemic


  • Larissa Rossen Trinity Western University
  • Esther Oh Trinity Western University
  • Deepak Mathew Trinity Western University



working mothers, covid-19, enhanced critical incident technique, qualitative research, career development


Women’s career development amid the COVID-19 pandemic suggests that we may be facing a ‘female recession’, where women are at significantly increased risk for dropping out of the workforce with the gender gap in the workplace likely to grow. However, the pandemic may have presented opportunities for working mothers to engage creatively in personal career decisions due to increased opportunities to work flexibly and pivot in a very quickly changing labour market. This qualitative study used the enhanced critical incident technique to explore the intersection of working mothers and career development considering the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants for this study were a sample of 18 working mothers in North America and Australia. Key factors that were identified as helping women do well in their career development during COVID-19 included: Supportive workplaces, social support, personal protective factors, job market factors, and resources (predominantly financial). Hindering factors to working mothers’ career development included: workplace challenges, family challenges, personal stressors, job market factors, COVID-19 mandates and restrictions, and childcare. The findings from this study help elucidate factors that contribute to a meaningful and productive career so that clinicians and other professionals can support, advocate, and encourage women who remain working during motherhood.

Author Biography

Deepak Mathew, Trinity Western University

Deepak Mathew is a core faculty member in the MA Counselling Psychology Program at Trinity Western University.

Deepak has experience in teaching and researching topics across broad areas in psychology and education such as social psychology, lifelong learning and adult education, career development, and counselling psychology. He has a passion for training and mentoring and is actively involved in multiple research projects. Deepak immigrated to Canada from India and continues to be well connected with issues and topics related to South Asia. He is fluent in three languages – English, Hindi, and Malayalam. He is a committed Christian and is active in Christian ministry.


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How to Cite

Rossen, L., Oh, E., & Mathew, D. . (2024). Career Development of Working Mothers: Helping and Hindering Factors in Doing Well During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Canadian Journal of Career Development, 23(1), 102–130.




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