20 de junio de 2010

La paternidad y la vida laboral

Recientemente, el Center for Work and Family de Boston College publicó un interesante estudio sobre las experiencias, percepciones y preocupaciones que tienen los hombres para encontrar el balance entre sus vidas laboral y familiar. El estudio se llama The New Dad: Exploring Fatherhood Within a Career Context.

Si bien el tema no es nuevo, el enfoque es distinto. Durante décadas, el debate público en relación al balance entre la familia y la profesión ha girado en torno a la perspectiva de las mujeresy, en particular, las dificultades que ellas han experimentado conforme han adquirido un rol más protagónico en la vida laboral.

El estudio del CWF analiza el tema pero desde un enfoque masculino. En términos generales, encuentra que la reacción de los hombres es parecida: para ellos también es complicado y estresante compaginar ambas. No obstante, y me parece que ahí estriba lo interesante del estudio, los autores reflexionan sobre las dificultades específicas que experimentan los hombres que intentan balancear la vida familiar y laboral .

¿Porqué es importante el estudio? Los autores responden:

  • Today, fatherhood has taken on many new dimensions. Fathers are met with greater expectations regarding their role not just as breadwinners, but often as full partners in co-parenting. We feel that now is the time for a significant, substantive, and fresh look at the role of fathers today, and the important, complex and changing role they play in the modern American family.


  • There are a number of factors that have influenced the current ideologies of good fathering. These include the rise in women’s professional and educational status and the corresponding increase in the importance of their earnings, the enormous number of dual career couples and single parent head of households, changing career patterns and shifts in generational values.



Un artículo de The Week in Review del New York Times comenta el estudio y lo pone en un contexto más amplio. Aquí algunos párrafos interesantes:

    • ... Men are typically the primary breadwinner, but they also increasingly report a desire to spend more time with their children. To do so, they must first navigate a workplace that is often reluctant to give them time off for family reasons. And they must negotiate with a wife who may not always recognize their contributions at home...


    • ... When it comes to taking time off for children, men seem to be second-class citizens. Several studies show that men, compared with their female colleagues, are less likely to take advantage of benefits like flexible schedules and family leave...


    • ... It doesn’t help that work eats up more time. In 1970, about two-thirds of married couples had a spouse at home (usually the wife). But today, only 40 percent of families have a stay-at-home spouse to handle domestic demands during the workday. Couples now work a combined average of 63 hours a week, up from just 52.5 in 1970...


    • Men may be stressed out, but try telling that to their wives. Although men do more vacuuming and dishwashing than their fathers did, they still lag behind women when it comes to housework. When both husband and wife work outside the home, the woman spends about 28 hours a week on housework. Her husband can claim only about 16 hours...


    • And men and women themselves paint very different pictures of their domestic duties ... 49 percent of men said they provided most or an equal amount of child care. But only 31 percent of women gave their husbands that much credit. The perception gap continued for cooking and housecleaning — more than 50 percent of men say they do most or half the work; 70 percent of wives say they do all of it.


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