Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

It’s Tough At The Top For High-Flying British Women

20.01.2006


Women in Britain are happier with ‘non-traditional’ domestic arrangements, according to new Economic and Social Research Council funded research at City University. ‘Our findings contradict Neo-Conservative claims that women would be happier if they went back to being traditional housewives,’ says Professor Rosemary Crompton, who led the research. ‘The recipe for personal happiness, satisfaction with the family and lower stress at home seems to be a combination of liberal attitudes to work outside the home and a fairer division of household chores.’



The City University research, which looked at women’s lives in Britain and Portugal, is the latest stage in a comparative study of families, employment and work-life balance in Britain and Europe. The results show that work-life conflict is closely related to the way people work, for example the availability of part-time jobs and the culture of long working hours, as much as to gender politics.

In the UK the researchers found a marked correlation between women’s stress levels and their ambition. ‘Women who are climbing the professional or managerial ladder in Britain are expected to put in long working hours and they have limited access to good quality child-care and domestic help,’ says Rosemary Crompton. ‘In Portugal promotion for professional and managerial women means moving up through an ordered hierarchy. Such women also have shorter working hours than similar women in Britain, and wider access to paid domestic help.’


In contrast, work-life conflict was higher amongst Portuguese women in routine or manual jobs than amongst their British counterparts. ‘It is hardly surprising because many Portuguese women with a child of under 15 put in over 68 hours a week in paid work and housework. In Britain, however, only 29% of women in this group work full-time.’

Professor Crompton says there are signs that the gender revolution has stalled. ‘Women often have fewer choices and less flexibility as they climb the employment ladder. At the same time family money management has not become more egalitarian and men’s contribution to housework seems to have reached a plateau since the 1980s.’

The findings draw on data from a work-life conflict scale developed by the researchers. Men and women in five EU countries included in this study were asked a series of simple questions including how often they came home from work “too tired to do domestic chores” and how often they found it difficult to “concentrate at work because of family commitments.” They were also asked about the division of domestic labour and managing the family budget. The resulting data was interpreted in the context of national policies on employment and family support as well as social and cultural variations.

The research also involved a survey of attitudes to family life, in which participants were asked to agree or disagree with statements such as: “A job is all right but what most women really want is a home and children,” “People who have never had children lead empty lives,” “All in all, family life suffers when the woman has a full-time job,” or ‘Watching children grow up is life’s greatest joy.” The results revealed that despite their high level of full-time employment, Portuguese women (and men) were much more family oriented than women in Britain and significantly more likely to think that both children and family life will suffer if a mother goes out to work.

The results showed that the level of work-life conflict was significantly lower in Finland and Norway, where two-earner families receive generous support. However, French women, who also benefit from relatively good state child-care provision, reported higher levels of work-life conflict than in the Scandinavian countries. One reason for this was the lower level of help with the housework provided by their partners. ‘This suggests that there is no quick fix to make people happy,’ says Professor Crompton. ‘Our results suggest that although universal measures (particularly reductions in working hours) would improve the potential for work-life balance, strategies will also have to be adapted to meet particular national circumstances and traditions of domestic arrangements.

Alexandra Saxon | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrc.ac.uk
http://www.esrcsocietytoday.ac.uk

More articles from Earth Sciences:

nachricht Colorado River's connection with the ocean was a punctuated affair
16.11.2017 | University of Oregon

nachricht Researchers create largest, longest multiphysics earthquake simulation to date
14.11.2017 | Gauss Centre for Supercomputing

All articles from Earth Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA detects solar flare pulses at Sun and Earth

17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

NIST scientists discover how to switch liver cancer cell growth from 2-D to 3-D structures

17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change

17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>