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Gender Divisions and Working Time in the New Economy

Changing Patterns of Work, Care and Public Policy in Europe and North America

Edited by Diane Perrons, Colette Fagan, Linda McDowell, Kath Ray and Kevin Ward

Contemporary societies are characterised by new and more flexible working patterns, new family structures and widening social divisions. This book explores how these macro-level changes affect the micro organisation of daily life, with reference to working patterns and gender divisions in Northern and Western Europe and the United States.
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Chapter 16: Conclusion: Work, Life and Time in the New Economy

Diane Perrons, Colette Fagan, Linda McDowell, Kath Ray and Kevin Ward


Diane Perrons, Colette Fagan, Linda McDowell, Kath Ray and Kevin Ward One of the primary aims of this book has been critically to assess some of the grand ideas that permeate social and economic theory about work, life and time in the new economy through detailed studies of different countries in Northern and Western Europe and the United States. The chapters have focused on different aspects of the relationships between changing working patterns and the complexities of organizing social reproduction as growing numbers of women move into or are obliged to look for waged work, while still taking primary responsibility for caring for dependants. Starting with the organization of work, each section has added a new layer of complexity, moving from the general issues raised by work–family coordination or reconciliation – what is often called work–life balance in the UK – to more specific questions about gender divisions of labour within households and the logistics of managing paid work and caring in particular places. The final substantive section of the book examined the development, application and limitations of equalities policies through specific examples. In different ways however all the chapters identified policy issues that need to be addressed if greater gender equity is to be achieved rather than undermined by the particular configurations of the new economy in different nation states. The purpose of this concluding chapter is to draw out some of the theoretical and conceptual issues that have emerged in this collection with an emphasis on understanding the...

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