Handbook of Research on Work–Life Balance in Asia
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Handbook of Research on Work–Life Balance in Asia

Edited by Luo Lu and Cary Cooper

In Asian societies, work and family issues are only recently beginning to gain attention. The pressure of rapid social change and increasing global competition is compounded by the long hours work culture, especially in the Pan-Confucian societies such as Mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. Furthermore, with the rising female labor participation, more and more Asian employees are now caught between the demands of work and family life.
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Chapter 6: A closer look at work–family conflict: the early childrearing experience of dual-earner couples in urban China

Jiafang Lu


This study presents a practically oriented, qualitative approach to Chinese working parents’ work–family experiences, the early childrearing stage in particular. Based on face-to-face interviews with 70 dual-earner couples in Beijing, Wuhan, and Shenzhen, this study attempts to investigate how they coped through the early childrearing period. The conversation revealed that the households had diverse experiences and adopted a variety of adaptive strategies to cope with this early childrearing phase. Women and men reacted very differently. Men tended to report no particular difficulty during this period, whereas this period was especially acute for women. Almost all the households relied on elder family members and some also on paid domestic helpers for childcare assistance. Very few community and institutional resources exist that working parents, especially women, can rely on during the early childrearing period. Regional differences from the northern to the southern cities were also found. Theoretical and especially practical implications were discussed.

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