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Fathers and Mothers: Dilemmas of the Work-Life Balance

A Comparative Study in Four European Countries

Margret Fine-Davis, Jeanne Fagnani, Dino Giovannini, Lis Højgaard og Hilary Clarke

Kluwer Academic 2004 ISBN 1-4020-1807-X
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

Margret Fine-Davis
Centre for Gender and Women's Studies, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland
Jeanne Fagnani
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique MATISSE, University of Paris, France
Dino Giovannini
Dept. of Social, Cognitive and Quantitative Sciences, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
Lis Højgaard
Institute of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Hilary Clarke
Centre for Gender and Women's Studies, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

This book presents a comparative analysis of the dilemmas faced by working parents with young children in four European countries - France, Italy, Ireland and Denmark - each of which represents a different "experience" of the evolving gender role process. It was the aim of the study to identify the key issues concerning the reconciliation of work and family roles, with particular emphasis on examining the barriers to men's greater involvement in domestic and family activities. A major purpose of the study was to develop new social indicators to measure issues of work life balance, which could be utilised in other national and cross-national studies. The book provides an overview of the latest research findings in the four countries, as well as a comparison and synthesis of the situations in these countries. It then presents the results of a survey carried out simultaneously in France, Italy, Denmark and Ireland and a comparative analysis of people's dilemmas and coping strategies in these countries. The research identifies which factors in the workplace, the home and society at large are associated with ease vs. difficulty in combining work and family life and with parental well-being. The comparative results contribute to a better understanding of the realities of life of young working parents and also highlight the critically important role played by public social and family policies in facilitating equal opportunities and quality of life for this group of workers. Reconciling work and family is now on the social and political agenda. It is to be hoped that the EU, national governments and individual workplaces will continue to develop new and better policies to promote work-life balance for men as well as women, for - as the data in the study clearly show - people's well-being very much depends on it.

Contents and Contributors
`This excellent cross-national study unambiguously shows that a truly workable and positive social equilibrium needs more than public support for mothers. It needs, somehow or other, to equalise the employment and caring roles of men and women alike . . . What Fathers and Mothers helps us to realise is that no workable social equilibrium can materialise unless we somehow begin to also reconstruct the male life course.' Gosta Esping-Andersen

Preface; Gosta Esping-Andersen. Acknowledgements. Notes On Authors. Table Of Contents. List Of Tables In Text. List Of Figures In Text. List Of Tables In Appendix. 1: Introduction:- Overview of Book. 2: France:- Setting The Context: French Family And Childcare Policies. Childcare Allowances: Reducing The Costs Of Childcare For Working Parents. Parental Leave And Child-Rearing Benefit. Attitudinal Studies. Workplace Policies In France. New Challenges: Is There A Predicament For Family Policy? 3: Italy:- National Social Policies. Workplace Policies-Objective Measures. Attitudinal Studies-Subjective Measures. Studies On Gender Role Attitudes. 4: Denmark:- Denmark By Numbers. Danish Rules Of Leave. Leave And The Labour. Gender And Working Life In Workplace Cultures. Scandinavian Equality Model(S). 5: Ireland:- National Social Policies. Current Status Of Family-Friendly Arrangements In Irish Workplaces. Childcare In Ireland: An Historical Perspective And Current Policy Issues. Attitudinal Studies: Changing Gender Roles And Social Policies In Ireland. 6: A Comparison Of The Four Countries: An Overview:- Women's Labour Force Participation. Relationships Between Fertility And Employment. Comparative Social Policies. Flexible Working. Gender Roles And Attitudes. Research On Fathering. Conclusion. 7: Methodology:- Method. Characteristics Of The Sample. 8: Children And Family Life:- The Effect Of The Birth Of The Youngest Child On Work And Family Life. Division Of Labour Within The Household. Childcare. Time Preferences. 9: The Workplace:- Workplace Demographics. Changes In Work Following The Birth Of The Youngest Child. Potential For Flexibility. Perceptions Of Workplace Attitudes. Workplace Policies. 10: Combining Work And Family Life:- Reconciling Work And Family. Well-Being. Correlates Of Well-Being. 11: Summary And Discussion:- Background. The Study. Children And Family Life. The Workplace. Combining Work And Family Life. Conclusions And Social Policy Implications. Appendix A: Tables. Appendix B: Questionnaire. References.