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From "work-family" to the "gendered life course" and "fit": Five challenges to the field

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  • Moen, Phyllis

Abstract

This paper introduces the concepts of the gendered life course and life-course fit in order to provide a broader, dynamic, and contextual perspective on the match or mismatch characterizing the social environments confronting workers, their families, and their communities. It summarizes five challenges confronting scholars of community, work, family, and policy: (1) updating outdated concepts and categories; (2) incorporating the gendered life course and family strategies to improve fit; (3) recognizing social change; (4) seeking work-time policy transformation, not simply assimilation or accommodation; and (5) focusing on prevention. In doing so, it provides a very brief history of the workfamily intersection from a US vantage point, along with an overview of organizational response by employers to the work-family conundrum. There is a growing recognition that a sense of fit or misfit in terms of rising temporal demands, limited temporal resources and outdated work-hour constraints on workers and families has become a public health issue. The next step is for employers and policy makers to break open the time clocks around paid work - the tacit, taken-for-granted beliefs, rules and regulations about the time and timing of work days, work weeks, work years, and work lives.

Suggested Citation

  • Moen, Phyllis, 2010. "From "work-family" to the "gendered life course" and "fit": Five challenges to the field," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2010-501, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbslm:spi2010501
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Karsten Hank, 2004. "Effects of Early Life Family Events on Women’s Late Life Labour Market Behaviour: An Analysis of the Relationship between Childbearing and Retirement in Western Germany," MEA discussion paper series 04047, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    2. Solga, Heike & Pfahl, Lisa, 2009. "Doing gender im technisch-naturwissenschaftlichen Bereich," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2009-502, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Powell, Justin J. W. & Solga, Heike, 2008. "Internationalization of vocational and higher education systems: A comparative-institutional approach," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2008-501, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    4. Uhlig, Johannes & Solga, Heike & Schupp, Jürgen, 2009. "Ungleiche Bildungschancen: Welche Rolle spielen underachievement und Persönlichkeitsstruktur?," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2009-503, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    5. Powell, Justin J. W. & Coutrot, Laurence & Graf, Lukas & Bernhard, Nadine & Kieffer, Annick & Solga, Heike, 2009. "Comparing the relationship between vocational and higher education in Germany and France," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2009-506, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    6. Rusconi, Alessandra & Solga, Heike, 2008. "A systematic reflection upon dual career couples," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2008-505, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    7. Pfahl, Lisa, 2008. "Die Legitimation der Sonderschule im Lernbehinderungsdiskurs in Deutschland im 20. Jahrhundert," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2008-504, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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