Joanne Smith

Balancing family, education and work: a qualitative study of mature women studying in higher education

  • General Medicine

This article explores the transformative experiences of ten mature, female, widening participation students, and their families, as they merged higher education (HE) study into the home to manage diverse demands. Set in a university in Northwest England, this smallscale, qualitative approach, influenced by social constructionism and feminism, incorporated semi-structured interviews (10) and a focus group. It explores experiences of work-life balance (WLB) and wellbeing as HE study was added to daily life and merged into the home sphere. The findings reveal the benefits of home-based study and work-based learning for mature learners with varied responsibilities. The women developed academically and practically, and transformed as they experienced university life to gain an increased sense of belonging, which normalised university attendance in households, a change here referred to as the 'l earning family'.

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