By TARA PARKER-POPE

Published: January 22, 2010

While the changing economic roles of husbands and wives may take some getting used to, the shift has had a positive effect, contributing to lower divorce rates and happier unions.  See the full article here:

-- Graham Roumieu

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One response

  1. sanam804 says:

    I’m currently taking a Work and Family course and we are reading The Second Shift,so this article touches on many key points that Arlie Hochschild has written about regarding the two separate male and female spheres. I’m relieved to hear that although roles are changing where men are doing more housework and women are earning more for their labor, that there has in fact been a positive effect. However, the article as well as Hochshild, both highlight that all is still not equal. Couples today continue to make sacrifices, whether it is the mother or the father, all for the sake of having a family. This makes me wonder, why does having a family need to be such a struggle?

    In the United States, maternity/paternity leave is restricted to approximately 12 weeks I believe,while in countries such as Sweden, couples are allowed to share 13 months of maternity/paternity leave that can be distributed however the couple chooses up until the child’s eight birthday. The father is mandated to take two of those months off from work. Also the 13 months do not need to be taken all at once. They can be divided up into weeks, days, or even hours and parents receive child allowances.

    Now I know the Swedish system cannot work everywhere since it is very customized to the Swedish lifestyle and culture, but maybe a variation of it may be in order. The Swedes pay for all of this and much more with tax money and the majority don’t mind since they are happy with the services and they actually trust their government for the most part. Maybe parents can have a certain number of days allotted to taking care of their kids when they are sick or having a longer maternity leave. Do people see where I am going with this? I just think parents could use a little more help.The way our system is set up at the moment doesn’t exactly encourage people to have kids.