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  1. ‘Flexible families – work and care’ explores numerous perspectives that are increasing in relevance today as the nature of work individuals engage within society change. With greater technological developments, and greater options in when/where individuals engage in work; greater flexibility is available.

    While flexibility within the workforce can be seen as beneficial, it also has the ability to impose on home life (following employees outside of their direct work-spaces), however, changes away from the 9-5 working day are not all negative. In relating to changes in work schedules/flexibility and the family, Bianchi & Milkie (2010, p. 710) discuss childcare as the “nucleus of what much ‘work-family’ conflict is about”. While initial concerns focused on work schedules and inflexibility in these having a negative impact on the family, studies have shown that they can be beneficial. Nonstandard work hours allowed parents to spend more time involved with children despite interfering with some household activities when compared to standard work hours (Barnett & Gareis, 2007; Wight et al., 2008 – in Bianchi & Milkie, 2010).

    Considering Sennett’s (1998) argument of the temporality of work and unpredictable nature of our livelihood today, it is also important to consider how these change to work and family dynamics can have a positive impact the how families today function.

  2. In a post-industrial society, the workforce across many professions have significantly altered. One key feature of this shift that I find interesting is the rise in flexible production. This takes form in a number of key ways. The first way that can be observed is through the de-centralisation of work. A range of occupations can now be carried out in a multitude of locations such as at home. This can be beneficial for those who live far away from their work as they can now reduce the amount they commute whilst still getting their work done. Alternatively, this has the potential to be negative as well because work can interfere with your personal leisure time and perhaps then can cause more stress. The rise of technology has been somewhat responsible for this major change. Flexible production therefore means a change away from the traditional 9-5 job.

    Sennett (1998) discusses how flexible employment produces more flexible lives. This can benefit family arrangements. For example, there has been significant growth in female employment. Hence, flexible work arrangements such as part time or working from home can be benefit men and women who want to work yet still be around to raise the children.
    However, despite changes in the workforce, it is noted that the burden of work and child rearing falls disproportionately on women. Bianchi and Milkie (2010, p.709) address this through analysing parent’s feelings on the matter. For example, “parental feelings of not spending enough time with children were widespread and higher for father who spent more hours away from in the paid workforce than mothers”. This results in women usually having to carry out more unpaid labour in addition to their paid labour.

    Female employment is also characterised by other inequalities resulting in a gender gap. This is supported by the concept of the ‘glass ceiling’ which makes it significantly more challenging for women to achieve higher positions in the workforce. Meanwhile, a pay gap still remains in 2017 and paid parental leave encourages the idea that it is a woman’s responsibility to primarily raise a child. This is problematic and needs to be changed which is why I agree with Roger’s suggestion of resolving the incentives.

    #S208UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1130

  3. A legacy of the nuclear family ideals of ‘50s Australia is that we have big homes on big blocks of land, but they’re expensive, and to pay for them, we now more women in the workforce. Culturally, even though it’s not the reality that men are the main breadwinners and women mainly stay at home to raise kids and do the domestic chores, we haven’t gotten past that thinking. Gender inequality is rife in our cultural frameworks. Women in paid employment are earning less than their male counterparts and do more unpaid care in the home. Women are pushed to take maternity leave instead of men taking paternity leave because workplace policies are designed to encourage it, and women’s lower wages mean it makes more financial sense to do so.

    Bianchi & Milkie raised an important point, in that “Many occupations, especially those in the most well-remunerated workplaces, required total absorption the job” (2010, p.709) framed in the context of fathers working long hours and missing out on time with their kids, however this thinking is now also being applied to mothers in well-paid positions. Pay packets are going towards long hours of childcare, convenience groceries and pre-prepared meals, and outsourced domestic chores or appliances that do household work for you. Housing (un)affordability has left us with little choice but to work full time and outsource childcare if we are to keep a roof over our heads.

    Nina Ford (2016) makes several suggestions aimed at driving a cultural shift towards equity; teaching children fair and equitable caregiving behaviours from a young age, teaching parents to undertake equal caregiving for children to model their behaviour on, challenging caregiving stereotypes (e.g. men being more involved in the practicalities), involving men in areas of health and care they have traditionally been excluded from, providing equal paid parental leave for both parents, and having workplaces with family-friendly policies and workplace arrangements.

    References
    Bianchi, SM, & Milkie, MA 2010, ‘Work and Family Research in the First Decade of the 21st Century’, Journal of Marriage and Family, no. 3, p. 705.

    Ford, N 2016, For women’s economic empowerment we need more caring men, Oxfam Policy & Practice, weblog post, 24 August, viewed 9 April 2017,

    #S208UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1130

  4. While women are increasingly gaining the freedom to enter the workforce, the current state of housing, rental, and living costs generally means that both parents are required to work in order to support their family and afford basic necessities. The woman, whether they are or are not the primary money-earner, is often not the only money-earner in the family. The result of this is that unpaid labour duties, such as domestic cleaning and childcare, still fall to the responsibility of the mother-wife, as per traditional gender roles and expectations. In order to reduce this trend of women and unpaid labour, the gender pay gap must be resolved, and gender stereotypes must be addressed and resolved to ensure equity within the workplace and the home.

    #S208UOW17 #Tut6 #Mon1130

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