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  • >30.04.17
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  • >13.06.17
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Difficulties in balancing work and family life

Fri 14.4.2017 8:07 pm

Since academic careers in Germany are associated with high workload and the culture of long working hours on the one hand and insecure working conditions (temporary contracts) on the other hand, men and women who have children or would like to have children tend to be disadvantaged. Since 2008 the University of Muenster (WWU) has been certified as a “Family-friendly university". Results of the internal gender audit at the Department of Information Systems (DIS) show, however, that the current offer of, for instance, places in kindergartens for the children of WWU staff members is not sufficient. Therefore, existing and new activities enabling a better work-family balance that address the needs of staff members in a more comprehensive way should be promoted.

Another aspect here is that male academic staff at DIS tend to take only short parental leave (usually only two months), meaning lack of family time for them and that their spouses are out of the workforce for a significantly longer time. At the same time, according to the German national law, if both parents share parental leave, it is prolonged up to 14 months (vs. 12 months if only one parent, usually the mother, takes parental leave). There are two main reasons for this phenomenon: (1) traditions and societal roles where a man is perceived as a primary breadwinner and a woman – as a caretaker and (2) the fact that men working at DIS tend to earn more than their spouses.

Results of the internal gender audit show that at the moment not all Chairs at DIS welcome gradual return to work of the staff members (for instance, allow a parent to first work only half of the position, then three quarters of a position etc.). The underlying reason here might be the lack of women who have children in leading positions who could by own example raise awareness about family-related issues and possible solutions to deal with them.

Rank

- Conduct sensitising workshops aimed at raising awareness of decision-makers about the importance of ensuring the work and family life balance of their staff members.

- Discuss during the workshop the strategies to further support staff members with children and dependants.

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101
0

- Conduct sensitising workshops aimed at raising awareness of decision-makers about the importance of ensuring the work and family life balance of their staff members.

- Discuss during the workshop the strategies to further support staff members with children and dependants.

101
0

Comments

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Submitted by Judita on Thu, 2017-05-11 17:22

All these topics deal with the same question - how to manage your life if you have your carrier expectations and want a good family.
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Submitted by Judita on Thu, 2017-05-11 17:23

A book. Halpern, D. F., & Murphy, S. E. (2013). From work-family balance to work-family interaction: Changing the metaphor. Routledge. Strongly recommend :)
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Challenge area(s)

HR practices and management processes

Target groups affected by the Challenge

Academic staff members
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