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Changing the "Second Shift"

An April 2009 query on WMST-L asked about social changes (large and small) that
might change the "second shift."  This file contains responses to that query.
For more WMST-L files now available on the Web, see the WMST-L File Collection.
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 2009 12:26:46 -0400
From: "Kathleen (Kate) Waits" <kwaits AT UTULSA.EDU>
Subject: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"
My students raised this issue, and I realized I not only didn't have an answer,
I've never really READ about an answer.

We all know about the "second shift" and the extra work women, including those
who work full-time in the paid labor force, do at home. And certainly I've read
about individual couples negotiating over this issue.

But what are the suggestions (large and small) for achieving SOCIETY- WIDE
change?? I don't know about any ORGANIZING around this issue - I know of no
organization whose central agenda item is to change this. Are there governmental
or other actions that have been proposed to address it?

Is my only response to students that we need to change gender expectations,
especially for men/boys? Having women be paid by their partners/husbands for the
second shift? Changing employer expectations - the Joan Williams "ideal worker"

In just about every other topic we've studied, SOME kind of feminist "to do"
list has been offered to bring us closer to an ideal. Even if it's a radical
feminist solution that is unlikely to occur, it at least gives the students (and
me) something to talk about and aim toward.

Many of my young male students predict that they will be SO DIFFERENT from their
fathers and there will be radical change for their generation. The women
students - and I - are extremely skeptical of this claim. Even with men of good
will, the women see enormous social barriers to equality. (Example: the social
barriers to paternity leave vs. maternity leave.) Many of my young female
student are quite discouraged that their lives won't be THAT different from
their mothers'. Some of these women are interested in seeking broad social
change. What - beyond personal negotiation - do I offer them in this area??

Am I just way off here? What am I missing? All suggestions - readings, etc. -

A search of the WMST-L archives for "second shift" didn't reveal anything that I
considered responsive to the society-wide/legislative/ organizing issue. But
it's was hard to formulate a query.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.


Kate Waits

Kathleen (Kate) Waits
Professor, University of Tulsa College of Law
3120 East 4th Place
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74104-2499
E-mail: kwaits  AT  utulsa.edu
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 2009 23:06:26 -0400
From: Natasha Kirsten Kraus <nkraus AT WESLEYAN.EDU>
Subject: Re: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"
This is interesting to me in that a big part of Arlie Hochschild's impetus
for writing that book was to promote societal changes that would positively
affect women's position in relation to the second shift.  It's possible that
the second printing has an Afterword addressing this (though I had really
thought that the first printing did--I don't have my copy handy).

When the first printing of the hardcover came out, she used the opportunity
it provided (as a bestseller) by going on a widespread talk circuit about
precisely the types of changes she proposed, which were based in changes in
corporate structure of the workplace.  This was not a book tour.  She spoke
on talk shows and at many large corporations.  Suggested structural changes
included childcare in the workplace, flex time, more evenly
gender-structured caretaker benefits/rights.  (Now that I think about it,
I'm certain that parts of the end of her book discuss some of these possible
changes and how they've affected family relations in the few large companies
where they already existed.)

Kirsten Kraus
Visiting Scholar
Center for Cultural Sociology
Yale University
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 2009 22:48:07 -0700
From: "Feinberg, JonaRose" <jjfeinberg AT MAIL.UCSD.EDU>
Subject: Re: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"
What about Moms Rising (www.momsrising.org )?  Their initiatives seem to
aim for this type of society-wide change -- things like increasing
family leave, flexible work schedules, quality and affordable child
care options, etc.  They have a book -- The Motherhood Manifesto --
that might prove useful, but their website should provide the
information you seek.


JonaRose Feinberg
PhD Candidate
Dept. of Communication, UC San Diego
jjfeinberg  AT  ucsd.edu
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 10:09:10 -0400
From: "Oboler, Regina" <roboler AT URSINUS.EDU>
Subject: Re: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"
[Re Arlie Hochschild's _Second Shift: Working Parents and the Revolution at Home_]
Policy suggestions are on pp 280-282 of the 2003 Penguin edition.  OK,
it's true, it's only a couple of pages right at the end of the book, but
it's not totally missing.
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 10:28:02 -0500
From: Michael Murphy <mjmurphy AT WUSTL.EDU>
Subject: Re: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"
Arlie Hochschild proposes some changes in her book The Second Shift as does
Anne Crittenden in her The Price of Motherhood. In the latter, see
specifically the last chapter on the Swedish system.


Michael J. Murphy, PhD, Lecturer
Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program
Campus Box 1078/222 McMillan Hall
Washington University in St. Louis
Saint Louis, MO 63130-4899 USA
mjmurphy  AT  wustl.edu
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 11:35:39 -0400
From: Judith Lorber <jlorber AT RCN.COM>
Subject: Re: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"
Look at -- 
Hertz, Rosanna, and Nancy L. Marshall, eds. 2001. Working Families: The
Transformation of the American Home. Berkeley: University of California

Jacobs, Jerry A., and Kathleen Gerson. 2004. The Time Divide: Work, Family,
and Gender Inequality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Moen, Phyllis, ed. 2003. It¦s About Time: Couples and Careers. Ithaca, NY:
ILR Press.

Pitt-Catsouphes, Marcie, and Bradley K. Googins, eds. 1999. "The Evolving
World of Work and Family: New Stakeholders, New Voices." Special Issue:
Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 562

Kathleen Gerson will be out with a new book soon.

Judith Lorber, Ph.D.
Professor Emerita
Graduate Center and Brooklyn College, CUNY
jlorber  AT  rcn.com
Imagine a world without gender!
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 16:57:30 -0700
From: Lois Helmbold <helmbold AT UNLV.NEVADA.EDU>
Subject: Re: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"
Hi Kate and all,

In the 1970s, the idea of wages for housework was proposed by Mariarosa Dalla
Costa (an Italian) and Selma James (a Brit), in pamphlets published in English
& availanle in the US.  There was lots of debate about the possibilities of
this as a strategy, as well as red-baiting. If you Google their names or Wages
for Housework, you will find tons of info.  Whether anyone is organizing around
this idea in the US now, I'm not sure.  The idea was most associated with some
Trotskyist organizations.  Also, the language was "double day."

The fact that no one seems to know about this, judging from relative silence on
this list, and references to Arlie Hochschild's Second Shift (1989), both
disturb me.  Hochschild did good work, but her work got visibility because of
her academic and class credentials in ways that activist writing and work never
gets visibility, so we keep on reinventing the wheel.

Even more critical, in my mind, is the fact that US feminist academics have
overwhelmingly abandoned the subject of work, except for women of color and
women in the global South.  Elitist theory divorces academic feminists from the
rest of women who care far more about issues of work than how many
post-structuralists can dance on the head of a pin, to use a mixed metaphor.  I
have not even taught Women and Work in over a decade because it seemed as
though there would not be enrollment.  With the current eocnomic situation, I'm
going to offer Women, Work, and Money this coming year.

Kate, if you have found out about groups working on this issue, please post to
the list.  Thanks.


Lois Rita Helmbold, Chair (on sabbatical)
Women's Studies Department
helmbold  AT  unlv.nevada.edu
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 17:54:48 -0700
From: Wendy Griffin <wgriffin AT CSULB.EDU>
Subject: Re: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"
We teach multiple sections of women and work (named US Women and the
Economy: Money, Sex and Power) every semester.  Our enrollment totals about
140 each time.
The person who led Wages for Housewives in the US was Margaret Prescod
(Selma James' daughter).  She is still very active politically in LA, now in
Global Women's Strike, I believe.

Wendy Griffin

Wendy Griffin
Department of Women's Studies
wgriffin  AT  csub.edu
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 20:57:57 -0400
From: Suzanne Bergeron <sbergero AT UMD.UMICH.EDU>
Subject: Re: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"
Hey Lois,

How are you?  I wanted to give you a shout out because we had Selma James
out here at UM Dearborn last year and it was amazing.  She is doing great
work with Venezuelan women's groups on wages for housework, and they've made
real inroads for poor women.  So hear hear for bringing this important
activist work to light!  I always teach Dalla Costa and James in my feminist
theories class.

Best regards,
Suzanne Bergeron
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2009 23:09:38 -0400
From: Barbara Bergmann <brbergmann AT VERIZON.NET>
Subject: Re: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"
Wages for housework paid by government out of tax revenues would encourage
more women to be housewives. That would have a disastrous effect on gender
equality. Wages paid for by the husband would have no effect whatever if he
was previously sharing his income.

If you want a book that has a great deal on women and work in the US, look
at the 2nd edition of my book "The Economic Emergence of Women" (Palgrave).
It has chapters on the reasons for growth of women's participation at paid
work, occupational segregation, discrimination, affirmative action, pay
equity, and the distribution of housework between spouses.

Barbara R. Bergmann
Professor of Economics Emerita, UMd and AmU
Mail: 5430 41st Place NW, DC 20015
bberg  AT  american.edu
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 2009 00:14:25 -0400
From: Nicole Garner <ngarner10 AT JCU.EDU>
Subject: Re: Social changes that might CHANGE the "second shift" - BEYOND individual/couple "work"

Do you find that (sometimes) as a way to distract from the wage chasm
within the group of women?  I remember my mother reading about that
and getting so angry that the fight was still not to be certain that
all women would have necessities but that some women would have a
choice because she cleaned rich womens houses as a second job it
seemed to her that if they paid the going rate for housecleaning in
the 70's that the rich would never accept it.  There is also the
idea of children doing work, in our house the kids cooked & cleaned
& did laundry, my mom had neither the time nor the energy.  In the
houses she cleaned for other people the kids were lounging about so
then it brought up the idea that we (the children) would get paid
for cleaning my mother's house (that she paid the rent and utilities
for) which still was not an answer for her.  It seems to me that
within poor women that movement just caused more anger (although I
have not read it as an adult).  I think that the!  issue of getting
paid to clean up ones own house is still an issue for the middle and
upper classes.  As a single mother with no man in sight my mother
still would have had to go out to work for less-than-living-wages
even if she had gotten paid for doing housework at home.  The same
holds now, my young cousin with a baby and no man in sight would
have to go to work no matter what.  I think that it also highlights
the class difference within children, some children do little jobs
at home and get paid for it in money, I did laundry and got clean
clothes for it.

I think the larger issue is one of the wage chasm within the group of
women.  Housewives do housework and get paid for it in money to shop,
in a house to live in, in a car to drive, electricity, heat, food,
ect. while others work 2 or more jobs and go without many of those
things.  It is just one of those issues where different women need (or
want) different things, perhaps one of them is the privilege of being
able to choose whether to go out to work or to stay home full time and
work, most women don't get that choice because there would be no home
ot stay in if they don't go out.  Do you think it is the elitist
theory divorcing academics from issues of work or just that the for
the most part the women who have much to say about work issues like
living wages, ect. are not recognized as having voices?  Of course
those voices have little time to write and are generally ignored by
the privileged but they are still out there, it is just in a different
form.  Actually I have an article that just came out about that.
Thanks for bringing that up, I had forgotten about it altogether until
I read this.  

Date: Mon, 20 Apr 2009 10:48:14 -0400
From: "A V Akeroyd" <ava1 AT YORK.AC.UK>
Subject: Work-Life Balance [was Second Shift]
In the UK there has been considerable discussion of the "work-life balance" 
from the late 1990s, and some legislative measures.  Some of the studies 
looking at this question might be helpful - see e. g.: 

Richenda Gambles, Suzan Lewis, Rhona Rapoport (2006) The myth of work-life 
balance: The challenge of our time for men, women and societies. John Wiley 
& Sons.  ISBN13: 9786610362356
Publisher's Description: "Many regard the ways in which paid work can be 
combined or 'balanced' with other parts of life as an individual concern 
and a small, rather self-indulgent problem in today's world. Some feel that 
worrying about a lack of time or energy for family relationships or 
friendships is a luxury or secondary issue when compared with economic 
growth or development. In the business world and among many Governments 
around the world, the importance of paid work and the primacy of economic 
competitiveness, whatever the personal costs, is almost accepted wisdom. 
Profits and short term efficiency gains are often placed before social 
issues of care or human dignity.  

"But what about the impact this has on 
men and women's well being, or the long-term sustainability of people, 
families, society or even the economy? Drawing from interviews and group 
meetings in seven diverse countries - India, Japan, the Netherlands, 
Norway, South Africa, the UK and USA - this book explores the multiple 
difficulties in combining paid work with other parts of life and the 
frustrations people experience in diverse settings. There is a myth 
that 'work-life balance' can be achieved through quick fixes rather than 
challenging the place of paid work in people's lives and the way work 
actually gets done. As well as exploring contemporary problems, this book 
attempts to seed hope and new ways of thinking about one of the key 
challenges of our time."

Paul Blyton, Betsy Blunsdon, Ken Reed and Ali Dastmalchian (eds) Work-Life 
Integration: International Perspectives on the Balancing of Multiple 
Palgrave.    January 2006   1403946183    264 Pages     
Publisher's Description.  "The question of work-life balance and the 
difficulties of managing multiple roles is attracting considerable 
interest. This international collection broadens the focus of these debates 
and presents recent research findings that will further stimulate 
theoretical development and empirical studies. While much previous research 
has focused on the challenges faced by working mothers, the research 
presented in this collection introduces perspectives that have not been 
widely included in previous work in the field, such as the voice of 
children, the challenges that students face, the role of both employers and 
unions and how different occupational groups experience work-life balancing 

Julia Brannen, Peter Moss and Ann Mooney (2004)  Working and Caring over 
the Twentieth Century. Houndsmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 1-
Publisher's Description: "Increased longevity and better health are 
changing the nature of family life. In the context of changes in the world 
of work, increased divorce and a declining welfare state, multi-generation 
or 'beanpole families' are a potential resource for family support. 
Focusing on four-generation families and the two central careers of the 
life course-employment and care - Working and Caring over the Twentieth 
Century explores this question. Based upon new research that employed 
biographical methods, itmaps in detail from 1910 to the late 1990s the 
lives of men and women as great-grandparents, grandparents and parents. The 
book provides unique insights into processes of change and continuity in 
family lives and the ways in which different generations of men and women 
make sense of their lives."

Diane Houston (ed)  (2005)  Work-Life Balance in the 21st Century.  
Palgrave-Macmillan.  ISBN-10:   1403920621   288 Pages  

Diane M. Houston and Julia A. Waumsley.   Attitudes to flexible working and 
family life.   Bristol : Policy Press, 2003.   v, 64 p. ;  [ Family & work 

Janet Smithson; Elizabeth H. Stokoe    Discourses of Work-Life Balance: 
Negotiating 'Genderblind' Terms in Organizations.  Gender, Work and 
Organization, Volume 12, Number 2, March 2005, pp. 147-168
Abstract: "This article examines current debates about gender equality, 
work-life balance and flexible working. We contrast policymakers' and 
organizational discourses of flexible working and work-life balance with 
managers' and employees' talk about these issues within their 
organizations. We show how, despite the increasingly gender-neutral 
language of the official discourses, in the data studied participants 
consistently reformulate the debates around gendered explanations and 
assumptions. For example, a 'generic female parent' is constructed in 
relation to work-life balance and flexible working yet participants 
routinely maintain that gender makes no difference within their 
organization. We consider the effects of these accounts; specifically the 
effect on those who take up flexible working, and the perceived backlash 
against policies viewed as favouring women or parents. We argue that the 
location of work-life balance and flexibility debates within a gender-
neutral context can in practice result in maintaining or encouraging 
gendered practices within organizations. Implications of this for 
organizations, for policymakers and for feminist researchers are 
discussed. "
Keywords: work-life balance; diversity; gender; discourse

Warren, Tracey (2004) Working part-time: achieving a successful 'work-life' 
balance?. The British Journal of Sociology 55 (1), 99-122.  doi: 
Abstract: "The role of part-time employment in the balancing of women's 
employment and family lives has generated an immense literature. Using data 
on women working part-time and full-time in different level occupations in 
the British Household Panel Survey, this paper argues that it is now vital 
to move these balancing debates on from their location within work-family 
rhetoric and to re-position the study of women's working time in broader 
work-life discussions. Work-family debates tend to neglect a number of key 
domains that women balance in their lives, in addition to family and 
employment, including their financial security and their leisure. The paper 
shows that examining the financial situations and the leisure lives of 
female part-timers in lower level jobs reveals a less positive picture of 
their 'life balancing' than is portrayed in much work-family literature. 
Instead, they emerged as the least financially secure employees and, linked 
to this, less satisfied with their social lives too. It is concluded that 
since the work-life system is multi- and not just two-dimensional, it is 
important to examine how all life domains interrelate with each other. In 
this way, we would be in a better position to begin to assess all the 
benefits and disadvantages associated with working part-time and with other 
work-life balancing strategies."

Linda Hantrais & Peter Ackers . Women's Choices in Europe: Striking the 
Work-life Balance. European Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 11, No. 
2, 197-212 , (2005) . DOI: 10.1177/0959680105053963 
Abstract: "The article presents evidence from interviews in France, Spain 
and Poland to explore how individual actors make choices about their work-
life balance. It shows that choice is a complex, contingent, and relative 
concept, which is both facilitated and obstructed by public policies and 
working regulations. Despite differences in national and sub-national 
policy contexts, institutional and cultural norms and expectations, the 
article draws the conclusion that family-friendly issues need to be 
mainstreamed and that the concerns of families should be added to those of 
the state, trade unions and employers on the agenda for negotiating work-
life balance. It is also argued that the focus and scope of industrial 
relations need to be rethought to take account of the gendered nature of 
employment relationships. "

The Work-Life Research Centre.  The Centre for Socially Sustainable Work

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has a fact 
sheet on "Work-life balance" (revised April 2009) which gives introductory 
guidance about the UK situation. 

Anne Akeroyd, PhD
Honorary Fellow
Department of Sociology
University of York
York YO10 5D

e-mail: ava1  AT  york.ac.uk

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