Academic journal article Review of European Studies

The Use of Greek Working Women's Leisure Time in Educational Activities

Academic journal article Review of European Studies

The Use of Greek Working Women's Leisure Time in Educational Activities

Article excerpt


During the last three decades, there have been significant changes in the lives of women in Greece. Women's role and status have been upgraded; their way of life has undergone a complete transformation by work changing the management of domestic, professional and personal time.Within these different temporalities of their everyday lives; a contradictory social time named leisure is raised; and it is in this way that a struggle for personal advancement; and self expression arises and is accomplished by constructively and creatively making the most of this leisure time. The purpose of this study is to explore the practices and the meanings of education during women's leisure time; as well as the motives and the intentions that urge them to take part in the corresponding educative activities. The method of the study was qualitative, through an individual interview of women who already made the most of their leisure time educational. The main findings of this study show that women with a basic education consider learning during their free time necessary for their personal development; as well as the creative development of their skills; while seeking social support and educational programs that are equivalent to their real personal and professional needs.

Keywords: Leisure, Women, Greece, Adult education

1. Introduction

A woman's education during her free time and its overall cultural analysis is an issue concerning Greek women's world that has not been adequately studied because there is either superficial or very little scientific research conducted on this subject.

None of the social studies researched have examined the relationship between leisure time; culture and education. As Aitkinson (2003) underlined nor have any of the studies delved in depth into the cultural policies and mentality governing working women in industrial and developed countries when it comes to the creative use of leisure time.

Most of the theoretical studies researching women's free time and use of leisure have a quantitative character (Maruani, 2006;European Commission, 2004; Greer 1999;µaratou Alipranti, 1995; A look at leisure,1988 ). Specifically, data on leisure time has been produced by time use surveys while the statistical information is referred either to the amount of women's leisure related to sex and time constraints associated with family and work commitments or to their poor participation in leisure activities (Haworth, 2007). The lack of qualitative approaches in these characteristics is obvious; for example the needs, motives to participate, attitude, perceptions, and obstacles faced during this effort.

On the other hand, are insufficient because they are not tested in the wider range of women's educational experiences and their range is not extended to include what the women themselves have to say.

Within this framework, and having as a primary stimulus the conclusions of recent investigations (Dede, 2009; Barvitsiotis et al., 2009; Jarvis, 2004) and recent statements of contemporaries feminists(Green, 1990; Deem, 1992) as well as personal observations thanks to my ten years systematic employment with adults training as a teacher, that women with only a basic education (high school degree) invest less in their leisure time, this study has attempted a total and substantiated approach and mapping of the educational and behavioural experiences of these women in Greece.

More specifically reinforcing the point that adults with basic education not easily participate in educational processes, because of insecurity, mistrust, low aspirations, negative attitudes towards education and sense of inferiority to the low level of their achievements (Zarifis, 2004), the emphasis in this study lies in

a) the real reasons (social and personal) set by the women themselves, which affect their psychology and motivate them to make constructive use of their free time,

b) the mentality of these women concerning the creative use and function of their free time,

c) the way they will use this time for learning in order to take advantage of their free time,

d) their personal considerations on the most effective arrangement of their free time in relation to educational and cultural programs available. …

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