Old Challenges, New Strategies: Women, Work, and Family in Contemporary Asia

Old Challenges, New Strategies: Women, Work, and Family in Contemporary Asia

Old Challenges, New Strategies: Women, Work, and Family in Contemporary Asia

Old Challenges, New Strategies: Women, Work, and Family in Contemporary Asia

Synopsis

The essays in this volume explore women's working and family lives in contemporary East and Southeast Asia, focusing on conflict between family and work roles, structural obstacles in the workplace, and the impact of state policies on women's well-being. It also discusses strategies that women employ in response to structural contraints provided in the context. This volume covers a particularly wide range of societies, some of which were rarely studied, in contemporary Asia. By comparing these ten Asian economies that are at different stages of economic development, the volume demonstrates the way in which gender relations transform in the course of development. The book is particularly important for sociologists and anthropologists who are interested in gender and economic development.

Excerpt

Working outside the home has become the most common form of economic participation in the contemporary world. While the separation of work from home in the early stage of industrialization decreased women's participation in economic activities, it was commonly observed that women, and married women in particular, played an increasingly important role in the non-farm labour force throughout the course of economic development (Pampel and Tanaka 1986). As women increasingly developed working lives outside the home, conflict between their work and family roles has become inevitable. Even though the degree of industrialization, culture, and social institutions may all influence the extent to which, as well as the way in which, women juggle their dual roles in society, women across societies generally find themselves more troubled by workfamily conflicts than do their male counterparts.

Women in Asia are certainly not immune from work-family conflicts. What dilemmas do they currently face? What strategies have they employed to cope with the challenges set for them? How have state policies, and sociocultural and economic conditions posed opportunities or constraints to their roles as mothers, wives, daughters, and/or workers? This volume attempts to address these questions by examining women's experiences in the family and/or workplace across a variety of socioeconomic backgrounds. Specifically, this volume brings together societies in East and Southeast Asia, and discusses gender, work, and family within these contexts.

The region examined in this volume comprises societies that have been undergoing rapid social change in the postwar era. the “East Asian miracles”, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, industrialized at a miraculous speed (Cumings 1987; Haggard 1990; Hamilton and Biggart 1988; Vogel 1991). in addition to rapid social change, warranted by their remarkable paths of . . .

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