Conciliação entre profissão, conjugalidade e paternidade para homens e mulheres com filhos na primeira infância
Vanalli, Ana Carolina Gravena
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The need to study work-family balance derives from the experiences of couples who are developing their careers at the same time as they are raising children, and who enter into conflicts at home and at work as a result of the great difficulties that exist to integrate these involvements, in the absence of strategies and supports that would better enable them to establish an adequate level of balance. Focused on couples in this phase of their lives, this study was designed to address two key objectives: a) compare men and women with respect to five factors: personal resources; their professional, marital, household and parental involvements; use of external resources; satisfaction with their involvements; and psychological well-being, so as to identify similarities and differences in the trajectories for each sex, at this stage of their lives; and b) verify the relationships that exist among these five factors, for men and for women, on the basis of the work-family model that underpins this study. As such, an interview protocol was developed, based on a new model of work family balance derived from other models described in the research literature. Individual interviews were conducted with each member of 50 couples, who differed widely in terms of their ages, occupations, and socioeconomic levels. All the study participants were engaged in paid work and were raising a child of up to 5 years of age. The interview protocol included open-ended questions, as well as standardized scales used in other studies in the area of work-family balance. The responses of male and female participants were compared by examining the frequency with which different categories of answers emerged in their verbal accounts, using inferential statistics to compare their results on the standardized scales, and, finally, comparing the relationships that emerged among the five factors included in the theoretical model of work-family balance, using linear regression analyses. The results indicate distinct family and professional trajectories for the men and women who participated in this study. The undervaluing of women s professional work was reflected in the lower salaries paid to the women in comparison with the men. The women also reported greater difficulties than the men to reconcile the demands they faced, together with higher levels of burden, stress and lower satisfaction with workplace support. The strategies used by the couples were marked by the unequal division of family work, reflecting traditional gender perspectives. In a similar vein, the support that was available via organizational strategies was insufficient for both sexes and didn t meet the needs of parents of young children. Given that simultaneous work and family involvements are becoming normative, the results of this study point to the need to create interventions that can prepare couples to more equally share family demands, as well as widening institutional strategies to support workers and introducing public policies that can help couples with young children.