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Reconciling Work with Family: Considerations of Time

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Presentation on theme: "Reconciling Work with Family: Considerations of Time"— Presentation transcript:

1 Reconciling Work with Family: Considerations of Time
Rhoda Reddock The University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad and Tobago 3/24/2017

2 Organisation of the Presentation
Introduction – The Current Context of Social Life in the Caribbean Economic Neo-Liberalism, Gender and Social Life in the Caribbean Gangs, Guns and Criminal Violence – Implications for the Care Work Women and the Care Economy: Reconciling Work with Family Conclusions and Recommendations 3/24/2017

3 The Current Context of Social Life in the Caribbean

4 Where are We Today – Uncertain futures – Linden Lewis
In 2003, Caribbean Sociologist and Gender Studies Scholar Linden Lewis noted the following: “The Caribbean is at a critical juncture of its history and development. The economic and social challenges facing the region are daunting to say the least. The region faces a future without any guarantees. 3/24/2017

5 Impact of Neo-Liberalism
Today the Caribbean is facing a serious economic crisis, the culmination of the impact of neo-liberal economic policies over the last two decades as well as the impact of the current economic crisis in the Global North. It has come after a close to 20-year period where the forces of free trade and the free market described by some as - “The Washington Consensus,” were paramount. 3/24/2017

6 Impact of Neo-Liberalism Cont’d
These policies facilitated the dismantling and removal of the many of the social and economic systems established in the Anglophone Caribbean in the aftermath of the labour disturbances of the 1930s and World War II (although not to the same extent in all countries). In other words a weakening of the social sector. They also opened up local and regional markets by insisting on the removal of subsidies on local agriculture. 3/24/2017

7 Impact of Neo-Liberalism
With the decline in agriculture and manufacturing local economic opportunities for the majority of poor women and men have also significantly declined resulting in increased poverty and regional or international migration. Yet women, especially middle-class women made good use of educational opportunities resulting in women having higher educational levels than men at a time of increasing male school dropouts and male youth criminality which is a major concern in the region. 3/24/2017

8 Concerns with Masculinity
The visibly improved performance of young women in the education system where females comprise 60-70% of the university population has raised questions about continued state support for women’s programmes Today there is increased concern from the State in high levels of youth criminality including criminal violence, school violence and poor educational performance. . 3/24/2017

9 Youth Masculinities and Care Work
The gains for women are often juxtaposed against the ‘losses’ for men It can be argued that this is the negative result of the lack of support for parents and caring work. Today child care and elderly care continue to the primarily the responsibility of women with limited support. 3/24/2017

10 Guns, Gangs and Youth Violence
 The issue of youth criminality brings together many of the social, economic and gender questions currently facing our region: The Caribbean’s location within the regional and global economy; The differential gendered impact of socio-economic policy; and The collapse of the social sector in many although thankfully not all of our countries over the years of economic neo-liberalism; 3/24/2017

11 Guns, Gangs and Youth Violence Cont’d
The increased burden of care placed on families, and on mothers in particular with little state or partner support; The normalisation of the gun as the weapon of choice through the globalisation of the US entertainment industry; The emergence of the drug economy as a replacement of the now disappearing productive industries; The gendered constructions of masculinities and the significance of violence within it; 3/24/2017

12 Guns, Gangs and Youth Violence Cont’d
The sexual division of labour and the responsibilities of women and men within it; The need for attention to the quality of our education systems and not only the quantity; The need to support parents in the normal yet challenging role of parenting in the contemporary world. 3/24/2017

13 Women and the Care Economy in the Caribbean
Reconciling Work with Family 3/24/2017

14 Caribbean Family and Household
Caribbean sociologists and demographers have stressed the concept of the “household” as not coterminous with the concept of “family”. Caribbean family forms defied traditional western norms of family and were often considered deviant. Social welfare systems are based on the traditional conjugal family and the notion of the male breadwinner despite the significant deviation from this norm. The idea of family in the Caribbean goes far beyond the household to include all known relatives, close friends of ones’ parents and their children. 3/24/2017

15 Addressing Unwaged Work in the Caribbean
Trinidad and Tobago was the first country in the region to pass legislation on Measuring unwaged work. The Counting Remunerated Work Bill was introduced in February 1995 and passed in 1996. It was piloted in the Parliament as a Private Members Bill by a woman independent senator – Diana Mahabir-Wyatt 3/24/2017

16 Unremunerated Work Act 1996
It requires the CSO and other public bodies: “to produce and maintain statistics relative to the counting of unremunerated work and to provide a mechanism for quantifying and recording the monetary value of such work It examines – agricultural work, care-giving of the sick, the disabled, the elderly, and very young; work carried out in and around households, unpaid “social safety net “ work carried out by both women and men in NGOs – in satellite accounts 3/24/2017

17 Clotil Walcott and NUDE
This cause had been championed for years by Clotil Walcott, grassroots women’s and labour activist and founder of the National Union of Domestic Employees (NUDE) which in 1980 was affiliated to the International Wages for Housework Campaign Her daughter Ida Le Blanc would continue her work on Domestic workers rights. 3/24/2017

18 Clotil Walcott 3/24/2017

19 2000 Census – Unremunerated Housework and Other Activities
Females 15+ performed 1,204,461 hours work in the week preceding the census Males 15+ performed 612,878 hours Most time – was spent in Cleaning the house 21% - Males and 24% females, followed by Washing Laundry A sexual division of labour existed. Men did most of the Gardening and rearing of animals and Home Repairs and Maintenance Males also participated more in sports and leisure activities ( not included in the total above) Females more in community and volunteer work NITRA) 3/24/2017

20 Social Reproduction in Jamaica – 1999 (HDR 2000)
This Study found that: Much of women’s work does not appear in national statistics Unpaid unrecognised activities were more numerous in low-income households Non-monetary contributions unvalued economically and in relation to human value Inability to measure this contribution prevents an accurate assessment of output 3/24/2017

21 Time Use Study – Red Thread Guyana - 2004
This Study was carried out by a Women’s organisation affiliated to the International Women Count Network, dissatisfied with the slow pace of government action found that: “the typical working day for women ranged from hours, with little help from anyone, often with minimal and unreliable technology, limited access to amenities and with very little leisure or free time for themselves” 3/24/2017

22 Decent Work for Domestic Workers
In June 2011 the ILO Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers was approved in Geneva This was the culmination of many years of struggle by domestic worker organisations. Central to this struggle was Ida Le Blanc daughter of the late Clotil Walcott who had fought for the recognition of unwaged work in Trinidad and Tobago 3/24/2017

23 Ida Le Blanc 3/24/2017

24 Trinidad and Tobago Case
The rest of this presentation draws heavily on the study – Reconciling Work and Family: Issues and Policies in Trinidad and Tobago, by Rhoda Reddock and Yvonne Bobb-Smith, ILO Conditions of Work and Employment Series, No. 18, 2008. 3/24/2017

25 Case Study - Trinidad and Tobago
Over the past few decades, the increasing industrialisation and diversification of the economy and the impact of the women’s movement have resulted in complex changes in society and economy. Families and households have had to respond to the quick pace of technological change, workplace demands, migration of family members, increasing income inequalities, inflation and the resulting social dislocation, 3/24/2017

26 Trends in Family Organisation
Today much of the blame for the increase in youth criminality and violence is placed on parents. There has even been a call for parents to be held legally responsible for the behaviour of their children. Women’s involvement in work outside the home is also blamed for this situation. 3/24/2017

27 Trends in Family and Household Organisation – T&T
Women as household heads “households below the poverty line tend to be larger and headed by females who are often single mothers with dependent children, or contain at least one elderly person living alone or in an extended family setting sometimes having responsibility for the entire household”. Elderly in Households 22% of all households had at least one older person (65 years and older). Of these, 42% were extended family households while 21% comprised persons living alone.

Parents utilize the services of paid help for preschoolers, such as daily or live-in domestic help. They place children in the care of neighbours or relatives. They give responsibilities to older siblings; They use private or public child-care services. They hire help for after school care. They choose jobs, which have flexible hours to manipulate their work time around hours for childcare. They establish their own businesses.

29 Trends in Family and Household Organisation
Although families are small, they still depend on extended family support e.g. grandmothers, other relatives and friends; Where these are not available or in a crisis - babysitters, child care centres etc. are used. In many instances grandparents esp. grandmothers become principal caregivers when parents migrate or are no longer available to their children – usually due to drug addiction, alcoholism, mental health problems, homicides, imprisonment or chronic ill health e.g. HIV and AIDS.

30 Male Single Parents Single fathers were a minority and more likely than married fathers to be living in an extended or complex household and therefore to have more adult support available. She observed: A multi-family single parent male headed household means that children have potentially more access to adults than children living with just their fathers. The problems of solo parenting differs for men and women in the Trinidad and Tobago context. Solo fathers receive more volunteer help from friends and kin, probably because men are assumed to be less capable of childrearing than women (Bronte Tinkew,1998:31). 3/24/2017

31 Family and the Sexual Division of Labour
Women continue to have major responsibilities for housework and child care; Some men have become more sensitized and share responsibilities mainly in transporting children to and from school, supervising homework and grooming children; Women reported difficulties in assigning housework to family members including children.

32 Work-Family Conflict Difficulty in continuing breastfeeding after returning to work “I returned to work when my son was 3½ months old. I visit his daycare every working day to breastfeed him and to express milk. How do I do it? My day goes like this: I breastfeed him at about 7:00 am before we leave home. I drop my (two) older children to school and then leave my baby in St James. I begin my lunch hour at 11:00 am and drive for 20 minutes from downtown, Port of Spain (capital) to St James (suburbs). When I arrive there, he is usually hungry and looking out for me, so I breastfeed him immediately… I eat the lunch I have brought with me and drive back to work, getting there by 12:30 pm” (Helen Ross, t.i.b.s NEWS April//June 2004: 1-2).

33 Work-Family Conflict There is no synchronization of work hours and school hours. Schools can end at any one of these times , 1.30, 2.00, 2.30, 3.00 or 5.15 p.m. (with extra lessons). Women, increasingly a part of the labour force, have used innovative coping strategies to reduce the conflict that work-family responsibilities produce and to manage their time; Men to a lesser extent are visible in this respect but usually in specific areas e.g. providing transportation. 3/24/2017

34 CASE STUDY 2 – Father’s Contribution – Transport and Security
Mr. J, Taxi-driver, does not live with his 3 children, he however shuttles them to school and back home. One child attends school in Port of Spain and two others in Maraval. Outcome: security for children, but severe loss of earnings during peak hours.

35 Work-Family Conflict The unpredictability of this country’s infrastructure especially transportation and utilities e.g. water and electricity - heighten work-family conflict; The citizens’ fear of criminal violence has placed more stress on working parents who seek to ensure their children’s safety; Middle and upper-income women/parents use their financial resources for babysitters, special transport arrangements etc. low-income women are unable to access similar support structures

36 Case Study 3 – Complex Transport Arrangements
Mrs C. leaves South Trinidad for her job in Port of Spain at 5:15 am arriving at work at 6:00 am. Her seven year old son travels to school a few miles away in a carpool. When his father is not at work, he takes him to school. She leaves work between 4:00 and 5:00 pm and arrives home between 6:30 and 8:00 pm in the evening. She notes that quality time with her son on a daily basis is reduced to merely an hour or less, as she sees him go to bed, and perhaps reads to him.

37 Complex Arrangements Mrs. K has developed a network of resources... Her day begins at 5:00. Because of the flexible time in her new job, which she chose because it helps with her plan, she can fully dress and groom her daughters for school, and give them packed lunch kits before a female taxi driver transports them to the babysitter. They remain there approximately an hour, before the driver takes them to school. They have the reverse trip in the afternoon, when they remain at the babysitter’s until she is on her way home from work, between 16:00 to 18:00, depending on the structure of her day 3/24/2017

38 Implications for work-family reconciliation

39 Areas of Challenge Lack of synchronization of work and school hours
Day Care centres 3 mths – 3 years Breast feeding support in workplaces School transportation Gender-sensitive parenting programmes Child support and fatherhood 3/24/2017

40 Compounding issues Illness/HIV/AIDS Sexual Division of Labour
Migration 3/24/2017

41 Working time Full-time work Part-time work Work hours and school hours
Flexible schedules 3/24/2017

42 Existing Family Support Benefits
Widows and Orphans fund NIS Employee assistance programmes Homework centres and after school Care Vacation Camps Disability Assistance Grants School Nutrition programmes Early Childhood Education Centre - State School transportation 3/24/2017

43 Recommendations - Data
Need for Improved data collection and analysis. The Central Statistical Office and various other sources of Institutional Data need to be strengthened to improve the quality and timeliness of data for planning and analysis. Greater use of gender indicators and gender disaggregated data. 3/24/2017

44 Recommendations –The State
Strengthen Labour Ministries to improve monitoring systems of work conditions in low income occupations Rationalize school opening and closing hours Increase the centralization of essential services Consider tax incentives to businesses that implement practices to reduce work-family conflict Pass legislation to mandate child care centres in all housing estates, office complexes and industrial estates.

45 Recommendations – The Private Sector
Flexi-time arrangements to be made standard Co- funded solutions e.g. Homework centres, crèches, in all new office complexes, housing schemes and industrial estates; DOCUMENT/PUBLICIZE BEST PRACTICES The AFETT survey of female friendly workplaces and Selection of the Top5 a good example Develop a workplace culture to encourage contributions to work-family compatibility policies 3/24/2017

46 Selected Recommendations Trade Unions
Introduce measures into collective bargaining aimed to address work-family conflict Facilitate gender sensitivity training for all trade union personnel- male and female including shared domestic responsibility Develop a public education campaign to introduce this issue and its impact, from parenting to worker commitment

47 Conclusions Implementing these policies in the short run may be costly but much less so than the other impacts – Criminality and violence; High rates of worker absenteeism; Low productivity; Poorly adjusted and unhealthy citizens

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