Families and Work in Western and Non-Western Contexts: Global Convergences and Divergences

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 09:00
Location: Hörsaal 41 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Bahira TRASK, University of Delaware, USA
Kenny DAUGHTRY, Univ. of Delaware, USA
Contemporary discourse on the impacts of women’s participation in the global paid labor force, masks a complex phenomenon: the experiences of women in developing societies seem at first glance to be similar to those of women in industrialized nations.   However, specifically when it comes to changing gender roles for men and women in families, the contrasts within and between societies can be striking. This is particularly the case when social class, regionality and education levels are factored into the analysis. While in the West, at least among middle class families, gender convergence has become an ideological goal, the same development is not necessarily taking place in other parts of the world.  Social and political messages denounce the changed roles of women and men and in some places domestic violence is on the rise. As women increasingly move into the public sphere as breadwinners, and as men lose their once taken-for-granted role as the primary or only breadwinner in the family, every aspect of the social fabric of societies around the world is being irrevocably altered – however, in very local ways.  While there is awareness of these transformations, much of the dialogue on these issues is limited in scope, and primarily restricted to social changes in the Western world. This paper will highlight some of these complex transformations and will contrast differing interpretations and practices between industrialized and developing nations with respect to family roles.