This article outlines the longitudinal consequences for men who participated in the work‐sharing couples study which was a Norwegian, experimental research project in the early 1970s. The aim of the original project was to promote gender equality and a better work/life balance in families; the design involved both spouses working part‐time and sharing childcare and housework. This paper aims to present the results of a longitudinal follow‐up study of the participants in the work‐sharing couples study. In this paper the work‐sharing men's part‐time adaptations and the impact of the work‐sharing arrangement on their careers is the main focus.
The original project had a small scale, interventionist design based on couples working part‐time and sharing childcare and housework; effects were documented by questionnaires and time diaries. In the follow‐up study 30 years later, retrospective life‐course couple interviews with the original participants were used. The current paper is based on an analysis of the couple interviews with a particular focus on the men's careers.
Obtaining part‐time work was not difficult, and working part‐time was mostly uncomplicated for the men. Neither did their working part time for a substantial amount of time have negative career effects, and they were rather successful professionally. Their experiences as work sharers were mainly positively valued at their workplaces as adding to managerial skills. For those who did not have a managerial career, this was due to personal choice rather than any negative effect of working part‐time.
Changing men's adaptations to work and care is high on the agenda in family research as well as in policy making and the findings from this study contributes to new knowledge which is of interest in research as well as policy making.
The original project was unique internationally, and so is the longitudinal follow‐up of this experiment. The work‐sharing men's part‐time adaptations and the longitudinal impact on their careers provide new and contra‐intuitive insights into the question of men, work and family.
Bjørnholt, M. (2010), "Part‐time work and the career and life choices of the men from the work‐sharing couples study", Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 573-592. https://doi.org/10.1108/02610151011067513Download as .RIS
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