The division of roles within the family still has a long way to go to achieve equality. Even if mothers and fathers share domestic and parental tasks more than before, the job market is slowly changing.
As part of the Association francophone pour le savoir (ACFAS) conference, experts presented their research on the gender revolution and changing roles within the family. It emerged that, in Quebec at least, the appearance of institutional measures has made it possible to blur the boundaries of the traditional separation of roles for mother and father.
“Women have entered the labor market, and men are quietly entering the domestic sphere,” says researcher from the National Institute for Demographic Studies Ariane Pailhé. There are, however, many obstacles at the organizational level, in professional circles. The measures put in place do not always meet with the expected success. It remains difficult to deconstruct the norms of distribution of tasks anchored in mentalities, and which are reflected in the working conditions ofparents.
Young fathers want to get involved in the everyday of their family, but the judgments are still very present. Dave Dupras is the father of two children aged 5 and 7 who he is raising alone. He worked in industrial and commercial decontamination. When he had to leave work to pick up his children, he was aware that the guys were chatting in the evening. There were rumors that he was the boss' pet, that the boss kept him even if he didn't do the job.
While the first days of the strike in the construction industry are ticking away, the main demands are for work-family balance. Dave Dupras hopes that the construction community will be able to open up to measures to help fathers get involved in their families, such as daycare centers open according to construction schedules.
But getting there also requires openness from bosses, unions and governments. The transition between the arrival of women in the workplace and work-family balance measures in the workplace leads to pressure on families, on parents.
For a collective vision
“The key role of bosses will be decisive in changing organizational cultures and ending parental discrimination,” says Université Laval researcher Hélène Lee-Gosselin. To promote a equitable distribution of household chores and equal access tolabor market, it will be necessary to focus on social and organizational behavior. The accumulation of pressures on career mothers leads to a real gap between their opportunities and those of fathers, and parents in general find themselves at a disadvantage.
Allowing parents to fully play all their roles leads to benefits for society as a whole, according to the studies presented. It is therefore necessary to develop a civic argument to make companies aware of their social role and bring about real changes in organizational practices. By allowing employees to also be parents, the whole community benefits.
Written by Ericka Muzzo
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