Maternal employment and family task-power differentiation among lower income Chinese families

Author

Wong, Fai-ming

TitleMaternal employment and family task-power differentiation among lower income Chinese families
PublisherChinese University of Hong Kong
Publication DateSeptember, 1972
Pages:26
Keywords:Family life surveys

Family

Abstract/ Concluding Remarks:

This study examined the effects of the mother's gainful employment on the patterns of task participation, task decision-making, and marital power structure in the lower income Chinese family. The total sample included 637 families locating in the industrial community of Kwun Tong, Hong Kong. To sensitize the measures and facilitate their analysis the sample was categorized into three groupings: the fully employed, the partially employed, and the housewives. Structured interviews and computer facilities were used for the collection and analysis of the data.

The findings were summarized as follows:

1. The employed mothers as a rule worked for economic reasons.Their engagement in gainful employment was facilitated by the fact that they had fewer and older children and that they could rely on their parents’ assistance in household duties.

2. Working mothers generally participated less in overall household tasks, and, in particular, more in masculine tasks and less in feminine tasks, as compared with the housewives.

3. Working mothers generally made fewer decisions about overall routine household matters, and particularly less so in feminine matters, as compared with the housewives

4. Working mothers were found to have practised relatively more equalitarianism and less dominance by either partner than the housewives. Their relationship with the husband has shifted from one of individual autonomy to that of mutual collaboration.

It may thus be concluded that a mother's employment leads to her decrease in household task participation and decision-making and a corresponding increase of her husband in assuming some of the routine household duties and making decisions about them. Her employment also enables her to enjoy a more equal status with her husband and maintain a collaborative type of relationship with him in place of that of individual autonomy.

NoteBibliography: leaf 26
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