Meshing the Worlds of Work and Family I. THE CHANGING WORK PATTERNS OF WOMEN, MEN, AND CHILDREN A. Women’s Employment The number of women in the workforce has increased from under 20% in 1940 to 58% in 1994. Women are likely to work whether or not they marry, and even if they have young children. Over 50% of White, African American, and Latina women are in the labor force. 1. Causes of Increased Labor Force Participation. a. Changes in the Economy The influx of women into the labor force is a direct consequence of the expansion of the service sector of the economy. Since 1980, women have taken 80% of the new jobs created in the economy. b. Decline in Real Earnings Because earnings have declined over the past two decades, the economic needs of families have led to women’s labor force participation. c. Personal Fulfillment Women find that work outside the home gives them worth, identity, and a measure of economic independence. d. Problems of Women Workers Women’s labor force participation is often restricted by poor labor market conditions and lack of child care. B. Men’s Employment men’s labor force participation rate has declined from 83% in 1960 to 76% in 1994. 1. Causes of Decreased Labor Force Participation Structural change has eliminated manufacturing jobs that historically have been held predominantly by men. The wives of these displaced workers have found employment in the expanding service sector. a. Changes in the Economy Employment available to young men has been in the service sector where jobs generally offer low pay, few benefits, and little advancement. b. Decline in Real Wages Shrinking wages have led to the decline of the “good provider” role for men. C. children’s Employment The rise of a service economy, with its part-time “off”-hours employment, has produced a new demand for adolescent workers. These workers are likely to be White, middle-class, and suburban. Earnings are usually spent on personal discretionary items rather than pooled with family resources. II. WORK AND FAMILY OVERLAP The worlds of work and family overlap and interact. Work and family linkages vary based on the structural characteristics of each. Variance is also created through class, race, and gender stratification systems. A. Gender Inequality Both structural and cultural forces keep work and family roles strongly gendered. Men’s paid employment is taken for granted but women’s paid employment is often viewed as problematic. The uneven relationships of men and women to work and family is conceptualized as the “work-family role system.” Within this system, the traditional public and private division of labor is supported, and it is more difficult for women to fulfill career demands than men. B. Work Roles - Family life is directly affected by two aspects of work: level of compensation ad conditions associated with performing a job. 1. Increased Work Time Work hours have risen for the majority of U.S.. workers. Men and women of every marital status and income group are affected. 2. Timing and Scheduling of Work Work timing affects the rhythm and quality of daily life. Family organizational patterns are influenced by such things as work-related travel and the degree of flexibility in the scheduling of work. Increasing demand for shift work means more families experience an additional obstacle to shared family activities. 3. Geographic Mobility Both work-related and job-related moves are common. Moves may be necessitated either to find work or to advance within a particular corporation. Corporations generally expect that the employee will move as the employer dictates. Despite the family stress moving generates, families survive the traumas of moving quite well. 4. Type of Work Different kinds of work have different consequences for families. Employment is the major source of economic and social well-being. a. White Collar and Professional Occupational prestige and income generally increase marital stability and marital satisfaction. b. Blue Collar Studies of the working class find that poor working conditions and job insecurity engender poor self esteem and resentment. These feelings negatively affect family relationships in the working class. c. Professional satisfaction from Work In general, the higher the prestige and income received from a job, the greater the importance of work to an individual’s well-being. But saying that only blue-collar work produces negative carryover is an oversimplification. Individuals in a wide variety of occupations bring home the negative emotional dynamics generated at work. C. Family Characteristics - Such family characteristics as employment status of workers and number, age and sex of children shape the work/family interface. 1. Dual-Worker Families: The Dominant Pattern a. costs and benefits of having both spouses in the labor force The benefits of combinin work and family roles for women lie primarily in the enhancement of self-esteem. The chief negative consequence is marital stress, but overall, women who work exhibit better health and well-being than full-time homemakers. b. Mothers’ Employment and Children Research evidence refutes the conventional evidence that children (and especially young children) of employed mothers are adversely affected. c. Work and Family Priorities Among Different Categories of Women Class and race differences bring different linkages to work and family. If working-class wives are characterized as less dedicated to their work, they must be seen in the context of the type of work they do. 2. The Wife as Sole Provider Ill health or unemployment of a spouse often place a wife in the provider role. In addition, some women continue to work after their husbands retire or are (occasionally) in marriages with house husbands. Cultural prescription and women’s typically low wages create barriers to role reversal. 3. Single-Parent Families Almost one-fourth of the U.S. households with children are maintained by a single parent. For these households the demands of employment add to the difficulties of solo parenting.
According to the text, dual earner families a. outnumber families in which only the husband is employed two to one. b. are likely to ave no pre-school age children. c. comprise less than 10% of the U.S. families. d. usually divide household labor evenly between spouses. Which of the following describes trends in U.S. labor force participation by gender? a. Women's labor force participation has incresed, while men's has decreased. b. Women's laborforce participation has incresed, while men's has held steady. c. Both women's and men's labor force participation has incresed. d. Women's labor force participation has begun to drop, while men's is increasing. The participation of adolescents in the U.S. labor force a. is typically a White, middle-class, suburban phenomenon. b. has been encouraged by the creation of "bad" jobs in the service sector. c. often provides a level of discretionary income that canot be maintained during college d. all of the above. According to Gearson's researchon contemporary men, a. most men are "autonomous men." b. "breadwinners" are no longer able to focus primarily on their careers. c. men could move from one category to another over their lifetimes. d. "involved men" eventually come to deeply regret the sacrifices they make. The Hertz and Charlton study of Air Force security guards and their wives found that a. wives do "adjustment work" to create as "normal" a family life as possible. b. wives of shift workers spend significantly more time in meal preparation than day-shift wives. c. wives accommodate the timing of family events to fit their husbands' schedules. d. all of the above.
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