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Review on Dual Career Families

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“Current Perspectives on Dual-Career Families” by Lucia Albino Gilbert

A dual-career family, as described by the Rapoports, is an “unusual and

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‘revolutionary’ type of dual-wage, heterosexual family that emerged as a result of

complete social changes.” In this type of family situation, the man and woman both

pursue separate careers of their own while maintaining their marriage and sometimes

adding children. The dual-career family is considered to break down gender roles and

bring equality between the sexes. The man is no longer considered the “bread winner”

and household tasks are generally shared by both sexes.

In theory, both husband and wife

are equal, but in reality they are not. This article provides a “broad overview” on current

working men and women and provides facts and figures on dual-career family

Currently, opportunities for men and women both educationally and

occupationally are equal. Most men and women between the ages of 25 and 29 have four

or more years of college under their belts and are employed full-time.

The opportunity for

women to use their education is much easier today than in previous years. Many

occupations that were available mainly to men are open to women as well. Such fields

include: the medical field, law, and University teaching. Because of new opportunities,

and dual-career families many married women who are mothers have joined the work

force. This could also be due to the fact that women are associating a career with their

self-identity. Women are bringing more and more income into the household.

Researchers view the dual-career family situation in three phases. Phase one is the

changing of women’s roles. It is the view that women can “do it all” and still care for a

family. It was viewed that women’s roles changed and they had to adapt to their new

lifestyle whereas men’s roles remained the same. The outcome of children was a big

concern to researchers. They found that children in a dual-career home remained

unharmed if given alternate parenting or day care.

Phase two is the gender caparison phase. Women began pushing for change in the

home and in men. Multiple roles began to arise with males as well as females. Their

duties, coping, and marital satisfaction began to change. There are benefits to both

women and men in a dual-career family. The benefits to women include: a heightened

sense of self-esteem, positive physical and mental health, and a new found financial

independence. The benefits for men include: emotional involvement and bonding that is

not present in traditional families, better general health, less pressure to be the sole

provider for wife and kids, and greater participation in parenting situations. Although the

second phase was useful in determining the effects of dual-career family situations in

individual cases it did not provide, widespread research and results for the general

The third and final phase deals with social norms and practices. The dual-career

husband and wife can no longer receive all of their personal needs and wants. An

example of this is with parenting. If a father and/or mother work in a traditional type of

workplace finding time for their children may be difficult.

There are four crucial areas to the dual-career family lifestyle. The first is

combining the family and the career. Presently women make more money and posses

more legal equality but some traditional gender roles are still acted out. Such as, men still

make more money than women and typically hold greater positions of power. On the job,

women use more family leave and Flextime. The widely believed statement that working

women pull a “double shift” by working and then coming home to family responsibilities

is not true, responsibilities are now often shared by both partners.

There are currently three types of households, conventional, modern, and role

sharing. In the conventional household the chores are taken on solely by the woman and

the man will only help out if it does not hinder his career goals. In this situation the man

usually makes more money and it is up to the woman to balance her career and family. In

the modern situation parenting is shared but the wife takes on the chores. In this type of

dual-career family men are more likely to be active fathers. In the third type, role sharing,

the husband and wife share both the child-rearing and household responsibilities as well

as actively pursuing individual careers. This type of situation is favored by one-third of

The second type of crucial area to the dual-career lifestyle is equity versus

equality. Equity is equal to “marital quality and personal well-being.” Women who see

themselves as co-providers expect more out of their husbands and that he should take on

more responsibilities. But, women who see themselves as co-providers but do not request

the help of their husbands are not as satisfied with the marriage.

The third crucial area is parenting and role conflict. With parenting in dual-career

families, the decision to have children is affected by several factors. Such as, the values of

both partners, the policy in the workplace, work schedules, and child care options. The

situation is idea if, the parents employers are child-friendly, if active parenting is present,

if parents are willing to use childcare, and if roles in the home are considered fair.

The fourth crucial area are sources of support. There are two sources of support

for dual-career families. Spousal support is the most important type of support. “Shared

values and expectations about love and work” are key. The second type of support is

social and institutional support. “Shared values and expectations about love and work”

are fundamental. Social and institutional support is key because it makes coping with a

dual-career family easier. Presently, many companies offer flexible scheduling and work

at home options to help mothers balance parenting and work.

Finally, new options for women are changing roles in the household are paving

the way for future dual-career families. Slowly but surely, men and women are becoming

equals in the home as well as on the job and “a new picture of contemporary marriage is

“Current Perspectives on Dual-Career Families” by Lucia Albino Gilbert

Cite this Review on Dual Career Families

Review on Dual Career Families. (2018, Jun 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/review-on-dual-career-families-essay/

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