Women in the Workforce and Creation of Stress and Conflict in Families – Term Paper Example

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The paper "Women in the Workforce and Creation of Stress and Conflict in Families" is a wonderful example of a term paper on sociology.   This essay explores ways in which the increase in the rate of women working in Australia has created stress and conflict in the traditional family structure. It starts by providing a synopsis of the changing trends of Australian women in the workforce between 1950 and 2011. It also outlines the social and cultural impacts of women in the workforce, and the governmental policies that support women in the workforce.

Before 1960, women in Australia were mainly homemakers and few were performing jobs that were predominantly regarded as for men. For example, as Strachan (2010) pointed out, in 1950, women were mostly homemakers, and if they were employed, they quit their jobs after they get married or after they gave birth to their first child. In 1950, it was regarded as an ideal situation for men to work most of the day at their respective workplaces (Firth, 2004). However, for women, the situation was not conducive because of the hindrances such as the legally orchestrated discrimination against them by the authorities (Strachan, 2010).

In the workforce, women were not allowed to hold certain jobs. In fact, women were isolated into occupying certain jobs and posts in the workplaces. Moreover, they were earning less than what men earned in the same job (Strachan, 2010). In general, in the later years, specifically between 1960 and 1970 can be described as a period where overt discrimination against women was practised. However, as the decade wore out, this situation improved as legislation promoting women in the workforce were enacted.

Before this period, particularly after the Second World War, women were greatly involved in the labour force. In many industrialised countries after the Second World War, many married women started taking jobs in record numbers. The most striking change in the labour force that was observed in this period pertains to the mobilisation of the female labour. In particular, this change was mostly felt in Australia as the labour activity of the women had been quite steady for over a hundred years. In fact, three out of ten women participated in the workforce and most of them were unmarried (Evans, 1996).

After they got married, many of these women, in turn, became employers themselves by employing single and young girls as their household servants. A steady rise in the number of women in the workforce has been realised. This increase has created stress and conflict in traditional families. The Second World War brought many effects to various economies all over the world. One of these effects was the shortage of labour. This was a blessing in disguise to the married women who had suffered long periods of discrimination in the labour force.

The government turned to them and by 1961, forty per cent of the female workforce were married women (Strachan, 2010). By the end of 1961, the percentage of women in the labour force was twenty-five per cent (Sheridan & Stretton, 2004). In spite of the increase in the number of women in the workforce of Australia, gender segregation was still a continuing feature of the labour market at the beginning of 1960s (Strachan, 2010). For example, in 1961, 4 percent of employed women were textile machinists, five percent teachers, six percent nurses, eleven percent shop assistants, and twenty percent stenographers and clerks (Sheridan & Stretton, 2004).

Better times for women in the workforce were to come in the coming decades.

References

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Australian Bureau of Statistics. (1996). The Labour Force, Australia. Catalogue No. 6203. Canberra; Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Baird, M., Williamson, S., & Heron, A. (2012). Women, work and policy settings in Australia in 2011. Journal of Industrial Relations, 54(3), 326-343.

Boyd, W. (2011). Maternal employment and childcare in Australia: Achievements and barriers to satisfying employment. Australian Bulletin of Labour, 38 (3), 200-.

Bracher, M., G. Santow, S. P. Morgan and J. Trussell. 1993. Marital dissolution in Australia. Population Studies 47:403-425.

Evans, M. D. R. (1996). Women’s labour force participation in Australia: Recent research findings. Journal of the Australian Population Association, 13(1), 67-92.

Firth, A. (2004) ‘The Breadwinner, his Wife and their Welfare: Identity, Expertise and Economic Security in Australian Post War Reconstruction’, Australian Journal of Politics and History, 50 (4), 491–508.

French, E., Strachan, G. and Burgess, J. (2010). Approaches to equity and diversity in Australia: Conflicting beliefs and competing ideals. In G. Strachan, E. French and J. Burgess, (eds), Managing Diversity in Australia: Theory and Practice (pp. 41-56). Sydney: McGraw Hill.

Gyllensten, K., & Palmer, S. (2005). The role of gender in workplace stress: A critical literature review. Health Education Journal, 64(3), 271-288.

Hayes, A., Qu, L., Weston, R., & Baxter, J. (2011). Families in Australia 2011. Sticking together in good and tough times. Retrieved from Australian Institute of Family Studies website: http://www.aifs.gov.au/institute/pubs/factssheets/2011/fw2011/fw2011.pdf

Lake, M. (1999). Getting Equal: The History of Australian Feminism, Sydney: Allen and Unwin.

SafeWork SA, 2012. Flexible Work Arrangements-Parents and Work-Life Balance, Retrieved 26 April 2014, >https://www.safework.sa.gov.au/uploaded_files/Parents_Work_Life.pdf<.

Sheridan, T. and Stretton, P. (2004). Mandarins, Ministers and the Bar on Married Women, Journal of Industrial Relations, 46 (1), 84–101.

Strachan, G. (2010). Still Working for the Man?: Women's Employment Experiences in Australia since 1950. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 45(1), pp. 117-130.

Sullivan., G & Herne, K. (2013). Australian Women in Paid Employment, In S. Carreon, A. Cassedy, K. Borman, & P.J Dubeck (eds.), Women and Work: A Handbook. Routledge, New York.

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