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Gender, Work, and Family

Elizabeth Thorn


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Gender, work, and family is the study of the intersection of work and family, with a focus on how those intersections vary by gender. This research is motivated in large part by the tremendous growth in labor force participation among women in their childbearing years during the second half of the twentieth century. This influx of wives and mothers into the workforce has raised questions about the division of labor in the family and whether state and corporate policies are sufficient to support new family types. Researchers also examine the causes of the divergent outcomes men and women experience in the workplace, as well as the effects labor force participation has on family formation, dissolution, and carework. These questions are most frequently researched quantitatively, but qualitative and theoretical work also contributes to the understanding of gender, work, and family. Rosabeth Moss Kanter's pivotal book Work and Family in the United States (1977) laid much of the groundwork for the study of gender, work, and family. Kanter made the case that changing family structures and increasing labor force participation among women were creating a new and complex set of interactions that were not being sufficiently studied in the traditional domains of the sociology of the family and the sociology of the labor force. Social scientists, Kanter claimed, subscribed to the “myth of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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