Exploring Contradictory Roles: A Qualitative Examination of Women in Church, Home, and Work Settings

Elizabeth R. Watters*, Casey M. Gamboni, Amanda L. Rigby, Matthew Becker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Historically, there has been a significant overlap between religion, family, and work. The aim of this study was to employ qualitative analysis techniques to explore the narratives of women’s identities within these three domains. The present study included eight semi-structured interviews to understand the work, family, and church experiences of white, cis-gender women who worked in higher education and affiliated with a Christian denomination. A phenomenological approach was utilized, and open coding generated the overarching themes and subthemes. The results of the present study support the difficulty of balancing multiple and sometimes contradictory roles, expectations, values, and beliefs that women face. The intersection between religion, work, family, and psychological processes is evident in the narratives of these participants. Practical implications are explored relating to the gendered roles and dissonance women experience and the theological importance of developing responsible biblical lenses for interpretation that incorporate feminist realities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)354-377
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Feminist Family Therapy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021


  • Family life
  • feminism
  • religion
  • theology
  • women
  • work

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Applied Psychology


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