Conference Agenda

RN14_05: Work-life Balance and Care for a Better World
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Susan Eileen Cohen, University of Bristol
Location: UP.4.211
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road

Session Abstract

Aspects of work-life balance in diverse social positions and technology influenced workplaces.


The Role of Gender, Occupational Status and Family Responsibilities for the Association of Work Related ICT Use and Blurring Boundaries Between Work and Private Life

Timothy Rinke, Ines Entgelmeier

University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Digital communication technologies, such as computers, laptops and smartphones, promote the use of temporally and spatially mobile forms of work and increasingly transport employment-related tasks into the private sphere of life. The sociological discourse points to ambivalent consequences for employees, but so far, the impact of digital technologies on the working and living sphere has been little empirically examined for Germany. In particular, there are only a few quantitative studies available and past results do not allow to differentiate in detail for whom work related use of ICT can become a resource and for whom it can become a risk. We are going to examine the impact of work related ICT use on the demarcation of work and private life. In addition, in this analysis, we are taking into account person-specific characteristics such as gender, occupational status and family responsibilities. We conduct cross-sectional and panel data regression analysis with the data of the European Working Conditions Survey (EWSC 2015), the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP 2006, 2011, 2016) and the BIBB / BAuA Employment Survey (2012). Preliminary results from cross-sectional regression analysis with EWCS 2015 shows that while for women and also for women in management positions the likelihood of leisure work is reduced by working with the computer, laptop or smartphone, this effect does not show for men. In addition, increasing computer use in the workplace improves the possibilities of reconciling the areas of life for women and men. For people in management positions, however, the compatibility decreases regardless of gender.

Work-life Balance Strategies among Hungariam Mompreneurs from Romania

Reka Geambasu

Babes-Bolyai University, Romania

In spite of promising trends of improving gender equality in the labour market, women still face a wide range of challenges throughout their working lives. Their access to male dominated sectors or management jobs has not increased, and are still more likely to work in lower prestige, lower paid jobs than men. Especially motherhood is associated with several disadvantages in the labour market.

Entrepreneurship is commonly regarded as a means for compensating lack or limited access to labour market or higher level positions for members of minority groups. As a particular group within female entrepreneurs “mumpreneurs” form an increasingly visible and proactive group. While mothers who embark upon entrepreneurial activities have existed before, the labelling, self-identification and the need for social organisation is nevertheless new. From a feminist point of view, however, mumpreneurship is one of the three tracks society offers mothers: full time motherhood, “leaning in” or mumpreneurship, while none of these really contributes to a more equal share of household tasks between men and women.

In our paper we study the group of ethnic Hungarian mumpreneurs living in Romania. Among the members of a large and dedicated group an on-line questionnaire was conducted during the Fall of 2018 (N=224). In our paper we attempt to understand how mumpreneurs address work-life balance issues and whether the strategies they develop differ from those developed by other women entrepreneurs.

Career Aspirations and Work-life Balance Strategies of Women in Protestant Ministry

Emőke Török, Emese Biró

Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church in Hungary, Hungary

The ordination of women, introduced in Protestant churches around forty years ago, was an important step towards the emancipation of women in the church. Today in Hungary – depending on the denomination – a third/half of the ministers are women.

Our research examines women in ministry as “working women”, who hold a leading position in a traditionally male-dominated environment, and are confronted with problems characteristic of this situation (prejudices, compulsion to prove abilities, advancement, glass ceiling, difficulties of work-life balance). Our assumption is that churches show similarities to other male-dominated professional environments. However, we assume that a significant part of women in ministry will not identify the emerging difficulties as gender related issues, due to their own traditional perception of gender roles.

We are exploring what family roles and division of labor characterize the female ministers’ families. Tension can arise between the “emancipatory” role of being a minister and the traditional role being a wife/mother in a religious community; or between the modern female role and traditional religious values. Coordination between work and private life is also problematic. While they need to perform more than men for professional recognition, they, in accordance with their own values and the values of their environment, also want to fulfill their traditional female roles. Our assumption is that women in ministry tend to perceive the difficulties deriving from this situation as their own failure and not as structural problems due to the peculiarities of their profession.

The first phase of our research started in September 2018 with 20 semi-structured in-depth interviews being conducted with female ministers; we are analyzing the transcripts with ATLAS.ti qualitative data analysis software.

Actual Work-Life Balance and Wellbeing: A Preliminary Overview For The UK

Pierre Walthery1, Heejung Chung2

1University of Oxford, United Kingdom; 2University of Kent, United Kingdom

This paper presents a method for measuring the balance between distinct aspects of “necessary work” (Ransome et al 2007; Kurowska 2018) among parents of dependent children in the UK. This method relies on accounting for the amount of time spent caring for children relative to that spent in paid work and housework.

The division beween paid work, housework and caring for dependents has remained of particular concern among policy and research audiences, given its consequences for children and parents, whether in terms of career and inequality, wellbeing, or academic outcomes (Eurofound 2018). Work-life balance (WLB) has often ben referred to as the the optimal balance one may experience beween paid and unpaid work and has been extensively researched and its limitations. However, in social surveys so far,WLB has almost exclusively been operationalised as the perceived balance, overlap or spillover between paid and unpaid work by respondents.

In this contribution we operationalise daily work-life balance as the daily proportion of time spent caring for dependent children relative to paid work and housework. The instrument is derived from time diary data collected in the 2015 UK Time Use Survey. We examine its patterns of association with wellbeing measured both as daily enjoyment of activities and life satisfaction. We also account for the extent to which respondents worked flexible and part-time schedules. Finally we distinguish between enriched vs routine care and primary vs secondary care (Craig and Mullan 2011). Consequences of this approach for the WLB litterature and policies are discussed.