Author: Ma, Man-kiu Tracy
Title: The conflicts between work and family of full-time employed women with preschool children
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1995
Subject: Working mothers -- China -- Hong Kong
Work and family -- China -- Hong Kong
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Applied Social Studies
Pages: iv, 91 leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: In Hong Kong, the female participation rate in the work force has been greatly increasing in the past three decades. Yet, women's entry into the labour market has not worked to eradicate their traditional gender role. As the combination of family and occupational roles becomes a more prevalent lifestyle for women in Hong Kong, it is worthwhile for us to understand the reality of conflicting demands by examining their impacts on the population of married women. This dissertation aims to depict the impacts of gender ideologies on the division of household labour between the dual-earner couples, and to examine the conflicts of full-time employed women between their paid work and family and the ways in which the couples tackle these conflicts by employing their gender strategies. The study employs a qualitative methodology with in-depth interviews for case studies. With at least one preschool child in each case, a sample of 2 individual women and 2 couples of dual-earner families from the middle class, while another 2 individual women and 2 couples of dual-earner families from the white-collar working class participated in the study. The women interviewed in our study seem to be far more deeply torn between the demands of work and family than are their husbands. Our findings reveal that full-time employed women with preschool children frequently experience time conflict between child care and household chores, especially in the working class; value conflict between child care commitment and career aspiration, especially in the middle class; role conflicts between family demand and job demand; and marital conflict between financial need of the family and psychological need of the spouse. Choices of gender strategies vary depending on the couples' gender ideologies, the resources of the couples , and their perceived nature of the conflicts. The conclusion is that by employing gender strategies and coupling with structural changes are not sufficient to eliminate conflicts of women's juggling with the dual roles between work and family. To promote an equitable distribution of household labour and to alleviate the conflicts women encountered in integrating work and family responsibilities, a prior awareness among women of the need to change, a necessity to recognize women's own right to work outside and the need to change in gender ideology concerning the notion of manhood and womanhood are advocated.
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