Work–Family Intersections in a Globalizing Context

  • Bahira Sherif Trask


The last several years have witnessed a burgeoning global interest in the ­relationship between the work and family spheres. This focus has been fueled by fundamental changes in the nature and structure of work, as well as sweeping transformations in gender and family roles. The worldwide influx of women into the formal and informal labor force, accompanied by significant adjustments in family arrangements have debunked more traditional approaches that work and family need to be conceptualized as separate spheres. Instead, more recent perspectives illustrate that work and family are closely interconnected, and that they are an integral aspect of globalization (Parasuraman and Greenhaus 2002). The relationship between work and family domains has extended beyond scholarly works to businesses and their employees. As organizations have increasingly gone global, work and its relationship to family life has come under scrutiny both in the West and in non-Western parts of the world, albeit for different reasons.

In the West, the work–family focus is dominated by the theme of dual-earner couples, work spillover issues, work–family stress, and the relationship between work outside of the home and the division of labor in the home (i.e., gender roles). Moreover, organizations have come under increasing pressure to be more “family friendly” as workers struggle with child and elder care issues (Perry-Jenkins and Turner 2004) and other logistical problems faced by single parents and dual-earner couples. In the United States, much public attention has centered on middle-class Americans and their desire for flexibility in work schedules, affordable high quality day care, maternity and family leave, and same-sex benefits. Many of these issues have also become a central focus in other industrialized countries, with many European countries developing policies that specifically encourage women to combine paid labor with family life.


Labor Force Labor Force Participation Domestic Work Unpaid Work Family Work 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Human Development and Family StudiesUniversity of DelawareNewarkUSA

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