Still a "Stalled Revolution"? Young Adults' Work/Family Plans and Experiences Open Access

Friedman, Sarah Marjory (2011)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/gt54kn42k?locale=en
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Abstract

Twenty years ago, Arlie Hochschild described the "stalled revolution": women have fully entered the full-time labor force, increasingly in male-dominated fields, yet men have not comparably shifted into female-dominated fields or responsibility for household labor and childcare. This study investigates whether the revolution is still "stalled." To what extent do contemporary young women and men hold non-traditional goals? What role do their parents play in the formation of non-traditional or traditional goals? Are men and women who want to cross gender boundaries in family or work able to achieve their non-traditional goals? To address these questions, I use longitudinal data from the National Survey of Families and Households which include surveys with young adults at ages 18-23 and ages 28-33, and focus on a group that should have the most opportunities to pursue non-traditional goals: predominantly-white, middle- to upper-income young adults.

Results indicate that, even among this privileged sample, the revolution is still stalled. Although both young women and men hold high marriage and parenthood desires, only 25% of women and 10% of men aspire to non-traditional occupations. Most young adults with non-traditional aspirations did not achieve those goals, though there are great gender differences in occupational trajectories. The results show that women experience high levels of work/family conflict and men are still constrained by a narrow definition of "appropriate" masculinity.

The influence of parental socialization factors on occupational trajectories, however, may be evidence that the revolution will unfold across generations. For instance, fathers' egalitarian attitudes about gender increase men's likelihood of pursuing non-traditional occupations. Similarly, mothers' egalitarian attitudes increase women's non-traditional aspirations. As contemporary young adults hold more egalitarian attitudes than previous generations, these young adults may increase their own children's willingness to pursue non-traditional paths. Likewise, women were more likely to achieve non-traditional goals if their mothers worked outside the home. Since contemporary women are more likely to work when they have young children, they may increase the next generation of young women's willingness and ability to pursue non-traditional paths. Although the revolution may be appear quite stalled, these findings support the claim that it is slowly unfolding.

Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION ........................................................................................... 1
The "stalled revolution"? ................................................................................................ 1
Central research questions and theoretical framework ......................................................... 4
Contributions to the literature ........................................................................................ 7
Structure of the dissertation .......................................................................................... 10
CHAPTER 2: THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK AND LITERATURE REVIEW ......................................... 12
Introduction ................................................................................................................ 12
Is the "stalled revolution" still stalled? .............................................................................. 13
Contemporary young adults' work/family aspirations ............................................................ 22
What affects young adults' willingness to pursue non-traditional work/family plans? .................. 29
What affects young adults' ability to achieve non-traditional plans? ....................................... 51
Structure of remaining chapters ...................................................................................... 73
CHAPTER 3: METHODOLOGY ........................................................................................... 75
Introduction ................................................................................................................ 75
Data .......................................................................................................................... 75
Concepts and measures ................................................................................................. 86
Analyses ..................................................................................................................... 101
Conclusion ................................................................................................................... 103
CHAPTER 4: GENDER DIFFERENCES AND DETERMINANTS OF YOUNG ADULTS' PLANS FOR
MARRIAGE, PARENTHOOD, AND OCCUPATIONS ................................................................... 105
Introduction ................................................................................................................ 105
Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses ...................................................................... 107
Multivariate analyses ..................................................................................................... 118
Discussion ................................................................................................................... 147
CHAPTER 5: HAVING IT ALL? THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOUNG ADULTS'
WORK/FAMILY PLANS AND OUTCOMES .............................................................................. 150
Introduction ................................................................................................................ 150
Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses ...................................................................... 154
Multivariate analyses ..................................................................................................... 171
Discussion ................................................................................................................... 180
CHAPTER 6: CONCLUSION ............................................................................................... 187
Contributions of the research .......................................................................................... 190
Other benefits of the project .......................................................................................... 197
Direction for future research ........................................................................................... 201
Final thoughts .............................................................................................................. 203
TABLES AND FIGURES .................................................................................................... 205
APPENDICES ................................................................................................................ 276
WORKS CITED .............................................................................................................. 289

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