Family structure changed in the European Union over the last decades bringing the issue of work-life balance to the forefront. Changes such as an increase in the number of families where both parents are working, part-time or full-time, an increase in single-parent families, job mobility resulting in a greater distance from caring relatives such as grandparents, all contributed to making the reconciliation of work and family a primary issue. Read more
In 2013-2014 a total of 2,383 students from the universities of Nairobi, Iceland and the Complutense University of Madrid were asked if they would rank childcare ahead of their career and sacrifice their career if by not doing so family conflict could be expected. Read more
The intention to integrate fathers in child care and encourage them to take parental leave is a goal in many countries. It is, however, realized in different ways: as a ”family right“ where parents can personally choose how best to divide the leave between the father and the mother; as an individual right, which can be transferred to the other parent; and as a non-transferable individual right where parental leave both parents need to take is specified in the program. Read more
Why do women in Sweden return to work soon after giving birth, while Austrian women stay at home at least one year after the birth, with some staying up to three years? Are women in Sweden more eager to return to work? Is this showing a more modern pattern, while staying at home shows a traditional one? Read more
It is not easy to say when family policy is effective. What first comes to mind is the question of fertility, meaning that family policy can be deemed effective when it is possible to have fertility rates at a level that comes sufficiently near to ensure the reproduction of society. A more flexible view would be to deem family policies effective when they allow a person to have as many children as he or she wishes to have. Read more
Family policies usually have two goals: to provide the best infrastructure for people to ”have as many children as they desire and to balance work and family life“. This affects the working environment, it structures care provisions within families and targets poverty in (and of) families as well.
While these general goals are consensual in society, they have to be broken down to individual needs. The pluralization of lifestyle does not make the task easier. Read more
Every parent has been faced with various situations involving their children: during the early years, parents take their children to the kindergarten and to school, accompany them to a football match or to gymnastics and music classes. Later in life, when their children feel nearly grown up, but are not, receiving a phone call in the early hours of the morning to fetch them from a nightclub becomes somewhat usual for the parent. Read more
I do not envy politicians who are commissioned to take care for families. Their efforts seem to have little effect on the well-being of families, as the social data expenditures database from OECD suggests assembled by Hans Bertram (Hans Bertram, Carolin Deuflhard, Die überfordete Generation. 2015). Read more
Never in the history of mankind humans lived as long as today.
The family time shrank from about a third of a mother’s lifespan to nearly a fifth in western societies. (Family time measured by the time to the fifteenth birthday of the youngest child).
Making money, looking for a career, building a home, raising children – and always smiling and looking relaxed – that is what is asked from women and men in their late twenties and early thirties. It is the rush hour of life.
Why is it taken for granted that you should combine work and family? Why all this at once?