Issue 28

Family Matters No. 28, 1991

Journal issue feature image

Balancing family and work: Strategies for the future

This issue of Family Matters ...


Juggling work and family commitments

Helen Glezer

The author presents information about how mothers and fathers in the workforce balance their family commitments and work obligations, data being based on Stage 2 of the Institute's national longitudinal survey, the Australian Family Formation Project. Responses from a sub-sample of 949 men and women aged 27-44 years living in two-parent families with dependent children provide data on preferred work arrangements; the sharing of economic responsibilities and of parenting responsibilities; arrangements made when children are sick or on holiday; the role of grandmothers in child care; how work affects family life; division of labour in household tasks.

Work and stress: Can a sense of control help?

Ruth Weston

Does a person's belief that events are personally controllable make the balancing of paid work and home-making less stressful than otherwise? Author briefly reviews research on the notion of control and how it should be measured, and concludes that 'by modifying our goals, setting priorities and delegating responsibility, we can reduce the pressures on us and hopefully maintain a sense of control and therefore wellbeing'.

Child care resources: inner and outer Melbourne

Andrew Burbidge

Is there an adequate supply of child care places in Melbourne? Are some areas over-resourced? Preliminary inquiries to inner city centres indicate that there continues to be a shortage of places to meet the needs of parents who live and work in the inner city and that the issue is one of overall supply, not just of geographical distribution of child care places.

Employment and income security support

Helen Brownlee

The government's response to families whose members are not employed is discussed. JET and NEWSTART programs are described, followed by an outline of the structural changes which are to be made during 1991 to the systems of support for unemployed, disabled and sick people. Issues are identified which need to be addressed if the government's active labour market policies are to be effective.

Mothers in the workforce: Coping with young sick children.

Gay Ochiltree and Evelyn Greenblat

In addition to finding child care, a problem for mothers in the workforce is the care of children who are sick during the mother's usual hours of work. The Institute's Early Childhood Study provides information from 591 working mothers on: who cared for their children when they had been sick during working hours; their attitudes to sharing sick child care with fathers; mother's feelings about care arrangements; how the care of sick children could be made easier. Discussion of findings is followed by three case studies, which demonstrate the variety of child care arrangements in the preschool years, and the difficulties faced by some working mothers. The article includes brief information about care of sick children overseas, and concludes that 'the most comprehensive solution to the problem is some sort of official parental leave which does not jeopardise the employment situation of parents'.

Pushed out or rushing out? : Buying on the outskirts of Melbourne

Greg U'Ren

This article considers the actual proportions of people buying and living in lower priced dwellings on the outskirts of Melbourne and in other areas, by looking at the housing market as it was in 1989. According to the distribution of dwellings across Melbourne, there is no evidence that people (specifically, low income earners) have been forced to buy on the urban fringe simply through a lack of affordable alternatives elsewhere, or consequently, that the cost of buying a home is the overriding influence on whether families buy a home in the middle, outer or fringe areas. The Institute's Australian Living Standards Study will investigate some of the complex relationships between housing preference, home location and family needs.

Youth wages and poverty

Peter McDonald

Youth wages have traditionally been set at a lower rate than adult wages. In this article, Peter McDonald discusses the rationales that underpin this practice. He asks the question 'should the issue of poverty be relevant in the setting of youth wages?', and argues that greater weight be given to work value when setting wages for young people.

Sole Parent Pension: A bridge for solo players?

Kate Funder

The Institute's Parents and Children after Marriage Breakdown Survey examined the ways in which new partners/ spouses enter the lives of divorced parents and their children. The author presents findings, discussing willingness to share parenting and take responsibility for children; support and parent wellbeing; support and child wellbeing; relationships between parent, former spouse and new partner.

To work or not to work? : Women, work and family responsibilities

Robyn Hartley

The author discusses findings from the Australian Institute of Family Studies' Becoming Adult Study which suggest that it is young women rather than young men who are making the major adjustments to the demands of employment and having children. The Study, conducted in 1990, interviewed 138 young women and men who were first interviewed some eight years ago as part of the Children in Families Study. Questions on employment, children and future plans were included in the interview schedule.

The outskirts of Sydney and Melbourne: Economic diversity or homogeneity?

George Gondor and Andrew Burbidge

The Institute's Australian Living Standards Study will examine family living standards and the availability and use of services in twelve local government areas, with four of the areas being on the outskirts of Sydney and Melbourne. This article reports on the use of cluster analysis to examine existing data on what sort of families live in these suburbs, whether they have jobs and mortgages, and to what extent the fringe areas are similar to each other and different from suburbs closer to the city centre.

New partners as co-parents

Kate Funder

Author discusses the theme of the United Nations' International Year of the Family, the role to be played by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, key issues identified in United Nations documents, and the ten major themes chosen for the Year.

Mediating divorce: An alternative to litigation

Ilene Wolcott

The focus of this article is mediation in divorce situations where couples are arguing or unable to reach agreement and make decisions about property, maintenance and custody/ access issues. Aims of mediation are set out, and effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mediation are discussed.