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Interactions of class, gender and policy: Implications for work-family conflict and satisfaction
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Sociology.
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The aim of this article is to explore theinteractive effects of gender, social class and public policy on men’s andwomen’s subjective experiences of work-family conflict and work-familysatisfaction. The central idea is that effects of gender and class covariatebetween different types of family policy models. Most previous comparativeresearch on the experiences of work-family conflict among women and men indifferent social contexts has assumed that class effects are similar acrosspolicy models. However, the results in this paper point to a class asymmetrywhen it comes to effects of policy on men’s and women’s levels of work-familyconflict and work-family satisfaction in three countries representing typicalcases with regard to family policy model (Germany, the UK, and Sweden). Theanalysis draws on data from the 2002 round of the International Social SurveyProgramme concerning family and changing gender roles, and shows that patternsof work-family conflict and work-family satisfaction differ among welfarestates. In Sweden women both in the working class and the salaried classexperience higher work-family conflict than men. However, these feelings ofconflict go hand in hand with correspondingly higher levels of work-familysatisfaction. In Germany class cleavages are more prominent than gender withregard to experiences of work-family conflict, while in the UK, women in thesalaried classes stand out with the highest level of work-family conflict ofall groups. In both Germany and the UK, experiences of work-family satisfactiondo not differ significantly between men and women in different classes. 

Keyword [en]
gender, class, family policy, work-family conflict, work-family satisfaction
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61666OAI: diva2:571350
Available from: 2012-11-22 Created: 2012-11-22 Last updated: 2012-11-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Conflict and concord in work and family: Family policies and individuals' subjective experiences
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Conflict and concord in work and family: Family policies and individuals' subjective experiences
2012 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background This thesis explores the relationship between individuals’ subjective experiences and the welfare state setting. The research questions in focus deal with the outcomes of women’s and men’s increasing dual roles in work and family in contemporary welfare states. The studies analyse women’s and men’s subjective experiences of combining work and family, and their perceptions of fairness in the division of household work.

Methods The thesis applies a comparative perspective where the unit of analysis is country and/or family policy model. A broad perspective with the aim to capture general patterns across a broad range of welfare states is combined with a narrower case-oriented approach. Multilevel analysis is used to analyse patterns at national as well as individual levels in the same model. Latent Class Analysis is used to capture patterns of latent dimensions with regard to the central concept of subject experiences.

Results The results indicate that the introduction of policies aiming to promote dual roles among women and men and the articulation of gender equality can matter for individuals’ subjective experiences of work-family conflict. In dual-earner countries, the probability that a high level of conflict is counterbalanced by feelings of life satisfaction is higher than in other policy models. A class asymmetry is found when it comes to effects of policy on men’s and women’s levels of work-family conflict and work-family satisfaction; women in the working class and the salaried class are more similar when it comes to experiences of work-family conflict and satisfaction in Sweden than in Germany and the UK. The analysis also shows that perceptions of fairness in the division of housework are moderated by the institutional and normative context. The politicisation of gender equality increases the correspondence between actual share of housework performed and the perceptions of fairness in the division of housework. The effect of politicisation is more important for men’s perceptions than for women’s.

Conclusion The thesis contributes to a deepened understanding of the relationship between policy and work-family conflict and the integration of the perspectives of role conflict and role expansion; knowledge about the ways in which both class and gender relations are structured concerning the patterns of work-family conflict and satisfaction in different policy contexts; and new knowledge about the relationship between policy and men’s – and not only women’s – perceptions of fairness in the division of household work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2012
Akademiska avhandlingar vid Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, ISSN 1104-2508 ; 70
Work-family conflict, role expansion, family policy, gender, class, dual-earner families, household work, perceptions of fairness
National Category
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-61668 (URN)978-91-7459-526-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2012-12-14, Humanisthuset, Hörsal F, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 13:15 (English)
Available from: 2012-11-23 Created: 2012-11-22 Last updated: 2012-11-23Bibliographically approved

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