Essay on Career and Changing Family Roles

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Differences in employment schedules among spouses contribute to the complexity of home life, yet the many dimensions of this important link remain largely undetermined, particularly with regard to primary care giving (PCG) fathers (Frank, 1995). The traditional family is characterized by the division of roles whereby one spouse (husband) is involved primarily in paid work and the other spouse (wife) primarily attends to family work, specifically the activities of household and child care (Pleck, 1983). In the last few decades, a growing number of families were classified as dual-career couples in which both spouses pursued a lifelong career, relatively uninterrupted, and also established a family life that included children (Dancer and…show more content…
For example, within the family, the primary care giving and work roles are associated with the quality and functioning of the family. In reviewing research on maternal employment and social policy, Lerner (1994) concludes "... that maternal behavior toward children is enhanced when the mother is in her preferred role. That role can be homemaking or employment outside the home. The benefits that are associated with maternal role satisfaction are both more optimal child functioning and more optimal parental functioning" (p. 93). Concerning perceptions of marital quality, Lerner (1994) finds that "... expectations and practices surrounding role divisions are more important than either socioeconomic or life cycle variables..." (p. 113). Lerner also finds that the division of labor inside the home is a major factor contributing to perceived quality of marriage by both partners, such that the more that the husband does inside the home the greater the perceived quality of marriage. Given such effects of roles within the family, we might expect that such roles and role congruence will affect perceptions of careers as well. A majority of men and women currently available for work are in their childbearing years, and most will have children during their work careers (Friedman, 1991). Behavioral scientists, corporate leaders, and policy makers have become increasingly interested in the ways in which work and family life
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