Presentation on theme: "6 th November, 2009 Ho Wing-Chung, PhD Assistant Professor Dept. of Applied Social Studies, CityU Wong Wai-Yin, Dorothy Vice-Convenor Institute for Integrated."— Presentation transcript:
6 th November, 2009 Ho Wing-Chung, PhD Assistant Professor Dept. of Applied Social Studies, CityU Wong Wai-Yin, Dorothy Vice-Convenor Institute for Integrated Rural Development Hong Kong * Based on the UGC-PPR funded research In Search of Family Friendly Policies in Low-income Neighborhoods: A Life-course Perspective
Family-friendly policies: … are those policies that facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life, ensure the adequacy of family resources, enhance child development, facilitate parental choice about work and care, and promote gender equity in employment opportunities. Policy objectives behind: Concerns about fertility rates; enhancing equity between different income groups, family types, and men and women; promoting autonomy among parents on income support; promoting child development, ensuring future labour supply, etc. Strengthening families in communities Quality of Life OECD. (2007). Babies and Bosses - Reconciling Work and Family Life –A Synthesis of Findings for OECD Countries. Paris: OECDBabies and Bosses - Reconciling Work and Family Life
The research aims to: 1.) examine the structural constraints faced by mothers and the life-course strategies they used to reconcile work and care for young children in low-income communities of Hong Kong; 2.) develop a conceptual framework and a research tool to understand the above; and 3.) explore potential FFPs and practices from the narratives of life course strategies.
Participants: Mothers of children under 13 Quantitative and qualitative data drawn from : Survey (N=1,429) in FIVE communities: THREE low income communities: Tin Shui Wai, Sham Shui Po and Kwai Tsing TWO non-low income communities: Yau Mong, Tseung Kwan O A subset (N=889) in two low-income community(TSW & SSP), and a sample of this subset (N=285) for individual in-depth interview
Community as a whole (year 2006)* TSW (N=361) SSP (N=528) KT (N=230) YM (N=120) TKO (N=190) Response rate 83.9%85.2%69.7%70.6%76.0%--- Household median Income per member* (HK$) 4,1005,0034,7506,2506,0005,700 New-immigrant* 5.9%5.7%4.0%4.6%2.6%3.2% Table 1: Response rate, household median income per member and the proportion of new- immigrants in five communities * The information are based on 2006 by-census data and is provided by Census and Statistics Department, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
TSW & SSP (for in-depth interview) (N=285) TSW & SSP (for survey) (N=889) All respondents (N=1,429) Household median Income per member (HK$) 2,3502,5003,000 New immigrant 48.4%31.6%22.3% Table 2: Household median income per member and the proportion of new immigrants in TSW, SSP and all respondents in the sample
Low-income community (TSW, SSP, &KT) (N=1,119) Non-low- income community (YM & TKO) (N=310) Employed now***53.6%69.4% To what extent do you agree that (max. 5 points): i) You have good communication with your husband*** ii) Your personality does not match your husbands#*** iii) You and your husband understand each others needs** iv) You and your husband lack communication#*** Having relatives or neighbors to take care of children*27.9%32.8% Hiring adomestic helper or other kind of fulltime carer to take care of children*** 6.6%40.0% To what extent do you agree that the family-friendly services provided in the community are adequate (max. 5 points) 2.79 *p=<0.05; **p=<0.01; ***p=<0.001 # The scores are reversed. Table 3: The Analysis of the Respondents in Low-income and Non-low-income Communities
30-cohort Mothers (30-39 yr) N= cohort Mothers (40-49 yr) N=474 Age (mean)** Marital status (divorced) (%) Education (> Secondary school)1.7%2.6% Household median income per member less than HK$5,000 or CSSA recipient77.9%79.7% Having at least one children aged less than 13**69.5%45.7% New immigrant – having resided in for less than 7 years** 40.3%28.3% Employed now*48.2%55.8% *p=<0.05; **p=<0.001 Table 4: The Analysis of Demographics of the Two Cohorts in the Survey
RegressorEmployed Major factors considered in the job-seeking process Perceived work-family tension Having at least one child aged <13 ChildcareSalaryJob interest Health βORβ β β β ββSβS β cohort -.30*.74.44** *.74.50* ** ** *** 2.71 R-sq. =.011 Adj. R-sq.=.009 F=8.03** *p=<0.05; **p=<0.01; ***p=<0.001 Table 5: Univariate Regressions for Major Work-Family Conflict Predictor Variables
Perceived childcare role on mothers: Scaling back work arrangement on mothers as husbands pay less attention on childcare(>94%). 40-cohort mothers tend to have a higher readiness to have fulltime jobs but still several limits on work.
StrategiesNarratives Cutting back on working hours [The option of] [w]orking at night not on. I need to take care of my kid, like preparing dinner. But, when my child was still small and in primary three [~=9 yr.], I didnt even consider working. (Dianna, 40-cohort, SSP) Refusing to work overtime I had no option but to quit working once my boss wanted me to work at night. … To take care of my kid means that I cannot work. (Jessica, 40-cohort, TSW) Choosing to work the morning shift Im afraid that no one will take care of the kids when Im working. Thats why I asked to work the morning shift to make sure I can see them at night. I am afraid that they will hang around on the street at night. (Kathy, 40-cohort, SSP) Preferring jobs with flexible work schedule My job is a six-day job. However, I have the flexibility to plan my schedule. It offers me convenience to look after my kids. (Heidi, 40-cohort, TSW)
Part-time or freelance may not mean that a work-family-fit was really achieved for both cohorts. I have a part-time job now as a cleaning lady. … I only work 4 to 5 hours every day. This schedule lets me take care of my kid. … But, I cant spend much time with him during his summer vacation. (Sally, 30-cohort, TSW) My daughter is not old enough to look after her younger brother. So, I work [part-time] now. … Having worked for several months, I begin to find him [her son] no longer listening to me. … But, I have no choice. To work means that I can improve the living standard of the whole family. (Betty, 40-cohort, SSP)
fewer mothers of 30-cohort express a feeling of work-family-fit featured a low level of social support for childcare deemed their jobs as too low-earning to afford a professional care services The salary earned from work might not be able to cover the cost of getting someone [professionally] to help [in childcare]. I will consider working when they [her kids] all, at least, are in primary school. Now, I prefer to take care of them fulltime. (Catherine, 30-cohort, TSW)
In general, the 30-cohort mothers expressed they would consider working only when their children were old enough. I put childcare as my top priority. To bring a new life to this world means that I have the responsibility to take care of him. … Not until he grows up, say, reach 15 years old, and is able to care of himself that I will consider earning a living on my own. (Polly, 30-cohort, SSP) Im afraid that my kids will turn into bad kids [if I work]. They are still very small. I am afraid that they will hang around with bad people in the community. Thats why I insist that an adult must be there to look after them. (Helena, 30-cohort, TSW) It is the mothers responsibility to make sure that the children are safe. … It will too dangerous to leave them alone at home. … I would feel guilty if my kids were injured while I am at work. (Annis, 30-cohort, TSW)
Majority of respondents expressed their negative view of CSSA or even see as a strong stigma. In society, people taking CSSA are laughed at. People are scared of being identified as CSSA recipients. They will try not to be identified. … But, if there is a real need, one should take it. A mother has to wait for her children to grow a bit older, making sure that they do not turn into bad kids; then she can consider working and earning a living on her own. (Cora, 40-cohort, SSP) If one has a strong need, such as when the kids are small, still in primary school, and cannot act independently, or one has no one to turn to for childcare, it would be no problem to take CSSA. If all the kids are at secondary school, the mother should quit CSSA and consider doing part-time work. She should try to work and earn a living on her own. … Taking CSSA makes one become lazy. Many people deceive the authorities in order to get the money every month without doing anything. (Vincci, 30-cohort, SSP) Getting CSSA has a very negative influence on the children. They will be discriminated at school if their classmates know that if their family receives CSSA. The psychology of the children will be aversely affected. (Pearl, 30-cohort, TSW)
Fulltime job Daycare (or school care for older children) Help from relatives/neighbors Home help service Fulltime job: regular schedule only Fulltime job: morning shift only Help from husband/ elder child(ren) At-home mother FAMILY Part-time job Scaling back … Work Transiting from the 30 to 40 cohort… Part-time job: Flexible schedule only Part-time job: limited hours Freelance Hang-on CSSA
Summary of Findings 1.)In low-income communities, There is a perceived role of childcare on mother; there is lack of substantial social and family support for households and; the families lack resources to hire helpers from the market; 2.)The higher degree of pressure experiences by mothers in 30-cohort than those in 40-cohort; 3.) There are differences in strategies between cohorts, therefore, the work-family balance is even more difficult to be achieved by younger mothers
Fulltime job Daycare (or school care for older children) Help from relatives/neighbors Home help service Fulltime job: regular schedule only Fulltime job: morning shift only Help from husband/ elder child(ren) At-home mother FAMILY Part-time job Work Transiting from the 30 to 40 cohort… Part-time job: Flexible schedule only Part-time job: limited hours Freelance Hang-on CSSA Scaling back …
Short-term and service oriented : the establishment of a voucher system in utilizing daycare service (besides existing poverty-alleviating employment based measures, i.e. subsidizing cross –district transportation, establishing job centers, promoting training courses, etc) Long-term and structurally oriented : the formulation of new planning standards in low-income communities and districts so as to promote the family friendliness in the neighborhood, i.e. the Pyramid of Family-friendly Services
Women & children residential treatment service/ Child protective service/ Foster service Employment (job center) Public Assistance (CSSA-field unit) Family treatment service (Integrated Family Service Center) Training (community center) Home visiting service Youth/Womens service Mutual help (self-help group, native-place organization) Recreation (playground, garden) Education (school) Health care (clinic) Daycare (with tuition service) Neighborhood: All families Community: Families needing some extra support District: Families needing specialized assistance Territorial/Clusters of Districts: Families in crisis
The childcare by mothers is not a fixed, structural family burden, but part of the life-course of the carer, who are mothers in our case. Priority should be given to assist younger mothers(say, for 10 years) in order to help them transit smoothly from one life-stage to another The importance of daycare services was highlighted which, as the least stigmatizing form of support for those who need extra help(Roditti, 1995) Avoid exclusion of low income mothers from the society and decrease the risk for unwise life choices made to their children and themselves.