Describe about work to live’ or ‘live to work’ – A study of work life balance and gender in men and women.
Context –There have been many studies on work life balance. These studies have continued to ignore the factor of gender in them. Many studies have shown that gender is the main factor in which work life balance is perceived. It is the main factor influencing the negotiations made by men and women in terms of work life balance. The way in which the work life balance is considered is also different in terms of men and women. It is evident that many women consider it an issue that they have to juggle in many roles- in the organization and then in the family (Broom, 2008). The work life balance for them is very different. It would consist of how they can efficiently manage between their office and their family life. More some men it is the same. However for the others it may be different as it would involve how they can balance between office and fun with friends. The research papers aims to suggest different ways in which the theories of work life balance that are gender neutral may be extended (Guest, 2004). The research aims at finding similarities or commonalities that exists in work life balance issues and management amongst the men and women. In most of these studies these terms are neglected. And the context would only be the work life balance and the views by men in this area of research (Meldrum, 2014).. This research will provide a significant contribution in this field by taking gender as the theme (central). Work and life balance should be seen through the lens of gender. It is very important. We should not assume the groups to be similar and disregard the gender differences, nor should we consider the difference differences. We should search for the convergences. Hence the study would conduct the survey and research the work life balance via many men and women and would then see if there were any gender differences amongst the views presented over the topic. The existing relation between health, life and work is very important and should be questioned ( Rapoport, 2007).
The contemporary view should be challenged. Either women are considered negligible while noting life work balance or they are completely ignored. The study would consider people who have non biased views regarding gender. Also health is an important factor in influencing the views.
The work family border theory from Clark’s in 2000 tells us the approach used by the people to negotiate and manage the family sphere and work and the existing border between them. The domain or family and work is compared to contrasting cultures of different countries. People here are considered as the ones who cross between these borders and move between these borders and hence border crossers. These borders may be strong in one direction and weak in another (Hunt, 2009). For example in some countries like India the work stretches are common however in USA it is not so. The borders can vary to the extent they enter in the person’s life. These may include stress about work at home and flexibility. Also the flexibility of office hours may be different at different culture. So basically this theory is blind to the gender. These and many other contemporary theories exist. Collinson and Hearn in 1996, Hatten et al 2002, Weiss 1987, Cohen 1988, Guest 2002, Smith and Winchester 1998, O’Brien 2005, Starzdins and Broom 2004, HM Treasury 2004, Smithson and Stokoe 2005, Swanson et al 1998, Chandola 2004 etc. are some of them whose theories were blind to gender. They were just focused on the existing differences in different countries.
There are a very few studies which actually focus on how the ultimate intersect of life and home happens or affects the men and women. Backett’s study of 1982 suggest how the domestic moms would find it very difficult to manage work and children at home. They had a very different mechanism of coping with things (Watts, 2009). The dads would leave the worries of home and children at home when they would travel. Parents would in their mind think that the work was divided however the dads would stay at periphery with the family life (James, 2014).
Research Questions or Aims – The study basic aim is to make a significant contribution to the field of work life balance. This would be done by taking gender as a central theme although this has been neglected in many contemporary studies. We need to look at all these from a lens of gender. Gerson in 2004 also expected us to look at work life balance from a gender point of view (Vågane, 2014). It would then tell us to study the diversity in women and men. We should not assume that there exists homogeneity in the genders and the difference of gender. We should try to find convergence between the gender differences of men and women. Hence in the research here we are studying about the various experiences of men and women in terms of their work life balance experiences and whether we are able to find any similarities or differences in the gender between them. The subject were mid age people (50 – 52). Thus the main aim is to add to Clark’s work life border theory the angle of gender. The aim is also to identify whether the different gender practices which are linked or connected to the diversity in gender.
Methods –The method was based on the interview of certain people. These subjects ranged from 11 men to 11 women. They were born in 1950. There were various question ranging from health, work to life and work life balance etc. This way we were able to get excellent sampling for our research. And the data collected would then be used for further sampling and studies.
The subjects were studied over their gender, work and health. Reports confirmed that a higher malaise existed in women and men. The subject were even asked to rate themselves. They would rate themselves over qualities that would be considered whether predominantly masculine or feminine (Cheung, 2014). Some of them are risk taking abilities, emotional handling, ego, determination, living etc. With the help of these we were able to sample the subjects with a high range of gender orientations (Weitzman, 2001).. The study would hence tell us about the work life balance in the mid-life people and how they (people who are paid workers) think or respond to work life balance. The people selected were a mix of those with high gender role orientation and the ones with low gender role orientation. People were also made to rate themselves over their health conditions as it has been studied and noted that poor health can affect a person’s mind set up letting him believe the age long stereotypes that have been existing, the long existed gender beliefs. This is a special method to choose only those people who have a specific set of characteristics so that we can illuminate over the topic been studied. This is not just another sample being taken from the existing population. It has been taken for a specific study (Rapoport, 2007)..
As per the Twenty 07 study these group of people would get married and get settled before the age of 30. They would have kids before the age of 30. Hence such groups of people were taken into consideration. The masculinity score for this group of people was also high as they thought of themselves in great health and mental condition (Mohanty, 2014). This was an important factor in sampling people. Man and women were to be involved from a varying range of socio economic cadre. Also people from extreme non-conventional genre were also considered, the ones who do not have children or who have never married till now at the age of 52 or 53. Both the middle class and the working class subjects were included in this survey ( Hunt, 2009).
We therefore included people from profession like nurse, teacher, secretary, auxiliary nurse, IT, Technician, engineer, electrician, postman, social worker, secretary, housing manager, own business. Out of these the person with own business, the one with social work, and the media freelancer were divorced. The council of cleansing had a very low masculinity score. The masculinity score was also high for the media freelancer who was divorced. There were some with poor health like support worker, social worker etc. Apart from this there were questions to describe their entire life which were recorded. This would include their challenges as a child, their adulthood and challenges at work and how they try to manage these (Gähler, 2014). They also focused on work and social life. They were also questioned to describe how they combined work with life’s other aspects and how they faced any challenges if at all they occurred. The interviews were conducted in batches however the questions would remain the same (Gähler, 2014).
The results were many. Some people when they become parents, they occupied the traditional roles of the gender that exists. The men would go on for a full time employment and the women would look to the households. Also the women would sometimes do part time jobs. There were only 1 percent who were actually in a full time job on contrary to the men. More women lived alone then men. At the time of the interview all the subjects are in full time employment.
Revealing Gender Differences –
Most of the women who were questioned were facing issues of one or the other kind to manage things in hand (Montgomery, 2014). These experiences were very fresh. Most of the women found it very difficult to take in several roles of mother, employee etc. they went juggling in as per them and it was difficult for them to keep all the balls in the air. One of the woman said she does not face any difficulty as the ball with her or the roles were very less. No child, few commitment and a simple job of 9 to 6.
Some women complained how the border for them has extended too much. They would worry about the work at home or be too exhausted to do other things. For some women work place was heaven and an only place where they can hid and go away from their personal lives.
Socio economic factors also played a good role here. The middle class women – with children or without children said that they need more time for themselves.
The result of men was different from that of women. Men would talk about how the work has dominated their lives (Nye, 2014).. The women on the other hand would only talk about the balance, and how they had to juggle between various roles. Most of them were happy with the balance between social and work life (Kaplan, 2014).. Middle class men said they needed to work more in order to earn name for themselves at work place. Some men regret that they miss the childhood of their children. The middle class men is in the thought that the financial earnings have already filled this gap.
The research often concentrates on the mother and work life balance. However our research states that the work life balance lack is common for both men and women. Although the criteria’s would be different.
The presence of children affected both the work life balance of men and women however it lasted longer for women. The research also suggest the importance of socio economic positions in the issues of work life balance. The research conducted in the near future should aim on work–life balance among men and women who are in less privileged class positions in order to further enlighten the relationship that exists between individual choice and structural constraints.
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