Volume 37 - Article 26 | Pages 853–866
Introduction to the Special Collection on Finding Work-Life Balance: History, Determinants, and Consequences of New Bread-Winning Models in the Industrialized World
Background: A wide range of new models for breadwinning and caregiving is emerging in the industrialized world. The massive increase in women’s labor force participation is bringing many women into the public sphere of men and many men into greater engagement with the private sphere. These are the two halves of the gender revolution, which have challenged the foundations of the concept of the separate spheres, although it is still a powerful model for couples in the 21st century.
Conclusions: Substantively, the papers in this special collection variously illustrate the tight linkage between the two halves of the gender revolution, with the second half reacting to the changes underway in the first half. The second half is progressing more slowly than the first half, and there is a gap between equal sharing of economic and domestic responsibilities in most countries. Theoretically, the cross-national analyses in particular demonstrate that structural differences – arising from public policies and economic forces that shape couples’ choices – are of greater importance than ideological differences. And methodologically, the special collection shows the importance of employing a wide range of lenses through which to study such a massive phenomenon, including detailed case studies and multi-level comparative studies.
Contribution: This special collection brings together new knowledge about this ongoing gender revolution, focusing on new models of finding work‒life balance. We illuminate the history and determinants of these changes in gendered labor force participation as well as their consequences for how couples organize their economic and family lives. In addition, we relate these changes to the ongoing gender revolution in the public and private spheres, which is transforming the relationships between men and women.
- Trude Lappegård - Universitetet i Oslo, Norway EMAIL
- Frances Goldscheider - Brown University, United States of America EMAIL
- Eva Bernhardt - Stockholms Universitet, Sweden EMAIL
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