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In the past 20 years, the percentage of married women in the Canadian labor force has risen dramatically. Despite women's increased participation in the labor force, child care and housework are still largely done by women. While the difficulty of combining work and family responsibilities can result in work/family conflicts, a variety of strategies can be employed to manage such conflicts. Some strategies involve the type of employment a parent chooses while the children are young. Often strategies employed by women for managing work/family conflicts include: working part-time rather than full-time while the children are young, choosing work that can be easily obtained or left, working at home, and choosing shift work so that one parent is always available to care for the children. Other strategies involve continuing to work full-time, but spending less time sleeping or in leisure activities, reorganizing gender roles to share housework and child care more equitably, and alleviating role strain by having no children or fewer children. While legislative changes and workplace and family negotiations also can be used to alleviate work/family conflicts, the present economic climate makes such changes and negotiations difficult. Unions and employees' associations will have to negotiate leave packages or flexible working hours instead of higher wages. In addition, voters need to make their governments aware of the extent of work/family conflicts and the consequences of not dealing with them. (NB)

Descriptors: Child Caregivers, Conflict, Employed Parents, Family Life, Flexible Working Hours, Foreign Countries, Homemakers, Housework, Mothers, Public Policy, Work Environment

Autor: Baker, Maureen


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