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Does the fact that most married women work part-time mean they have a low attachment to work?

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Introduction

Does the fact that most married women work part-time mean they have a low attachment to work? * H Gray So are women who work part-time less committed to work than their full time colleagues. This essay attempts to argue the importance of predetermined societal expectations of part-time working and the cultural expectations around childcare and the balancing of work-life issues. As we enter the dawn of a new Millennium, women in every walk of life, from a wife to a top Physician, are gaining greater opportunities to compete with their male counterparts. They can exercise the choice to stay home or work for a career. Some women prefer to manage their marital status simultaneously with their career. The capacity of a woman to do well often lies in the perception that she can handle household chores and hold down a job with relative ease. Women who choose to work develop an identity outside of the home, have some independence financially and do not just see themselves as centred on the family. In general, this has been one of the most positive aspects of women working and one the majority of women would seem to want to hold on to. Although many married women decide to stay at home and not work at all, for many married women who work part time the effect of having such a job can be as great as working full time. We know that many women are at home for reasons other than 'choice': they may not be able to find a job, they may be caring for sick relatives, and most commonly they may have childcare responsibilities which prevent them from working outside the home. ...read more.

Middle

The kind of emotional labour women are required to put into these kinds of jobs has never been properly respected in a nation that rewards intellect handsomely but not patience or empathy. (Marshall et al, 1988). With part-time staff now making up more than a quarter of the workforce, the stood at 27.86m, this is at its highest level since records began in 1984.It seems to reflects changes in social attitudes and the small growth in child care provision, together with greater opportunity for part time work. The amount of married women in part-time employment replicates the lack of support for parents. Although recent government legislation has attempted to address this problem, in 1998, Britain had the lowest level of affordable child care provision in Europe, this promoted the government initiative to ensure that every 4 year old would be offered a nursery place if the parents wanted one. (LA VALLE et al, 2000), With this in mind many women chose to juggle part-time work around their husbands to ease the financial strain of childcare. Where both parents do work, concerns have started to be raised about the long hours and increased workloads which are starting to 'rip' into 'the fabric' of family life. According to (ONS 2003 ) there has been a more general trend in the economy towards what is called 'non-standard work' which covers part timers and those on short term or fixed contracts. Part of the problem could be that the majority of part-timers are women, and women in general are still accorded lower status in the labour market and throughout society. ...read more.

Conclusion

The value of part-time work and other forms of flexible working needs to be recognised as an important cultural shift that needs to be re-evaluated. The vast majority of part-time workers are women, but in the workplace, part-time/flexible workers are often considered less committed and effective than their full-time colleagues. Many feminists emphasise that women's choices are constrained and not completely free, they overlook the fact that women have more choices than men, (BONNEY,1988) Women now enjoy shorter periods of employment, numerous job changes as well as having bigger breaks in employment often associated with part-time work; whereas men traditionally leave school, pursue a full time workload and then retire. With that in mind Part-time work is only open to people who have choices. Lack of flexible working arrangements plays a major role in influencing mothers' decisions to stay at home after having children. Many married women choose to work part-time after having children as it allowed them the opportunity to combine the social and financial benefits of working, with the opportunity to be at home with their children whilst they were young. It could be argued that it is more difficult for married women who are not in work to maintain high levels of work commitment as they have relinquished their personal identity as a worker fulfilling practical and social roles, which enable, or constrain, labour activities. It is clear from literature on the subject that working part-time does not make married women less committed and that it is each woman's decision, to enter the world of work, be it full time or part-time, and is based on a complex network of social, cultural and economic reasons. ...read more.

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