Gender and Home-Based Employment

Gender and Home-Based Employment

Gender and Home-Based Employment

Gender and Home-Based Employment

Synopsis

Gender often influences the type of occupation that individuals choose, as well as the way they work and the outcomes of that work. Home-based employment is no different. The proximity of these workers to their families' living activities provides a unique opportunity to study the effects of work-at-home on family interaction and the role that gender plays in this traditionally female-dominated situation.

Excerpt

Charles B. Hennon,Suzanne Loker, and Rosemary Walker

This is a book about men and women engaged in home-based employment for pay or profit. The focus is on gender and its influence on the type of work individuals do as well as their work processes and outcomes. Because of the spatial link between these workers and their families' living activities, a study of home- workers provides a unique opportunity to study paid-work and family interaction with a special emphasis on gender differences and similarities.

Traditionally, women dominated the home front as the so-called bread- makers with major responsibilities for child care and household chores; men were mainly considered to be breadwinners, providing the money income for the family. Increasingly, however, men and women engage in similar patterns of paid employment activity. Home-based employment seems an ideal situation to explore whether or not the traditional gender division of labor still influences what men and women do for pay and family as well as the outcomes of their efforts. For example, do home-workers take on different types of employment than on-site workers, or do they tend to follow the same gender conventions when choosing jobs? How do the motivations for choosing home-based employment differ from the motivations for choosing on-site employment? Do home-workers manage their work in the same way as on-site workers? Is being a home-worker associated with a different division of family and household labor, or different home-management practices, from the patterns associated with onsite workers? Are outcomes, such as economic rewards, human capital development, or "psychic income," different for home-workers? And, importantly, what are the differences and similarities associated with the gender of the worker both among home-workers and in comparison to on-site workers in all of these areas just mentioned? In a sense, the question becomes, does gender make . . .

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