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Gender culture and Malawian women’s reconciliation of work and family responsibilities

Gender culture and Malawian women’s reconciliation of work and family responsibilities This paper aims to examine how cultural systems shape spousal attitudes and the expectations placed upon women. This is based on the assumption that cultural systems shaping spousal attitudes and expectations on women makes their reconciliation of work and family responsibilities difficult despite sorting out childcare challenges and support with domestic work.Design/methodology/approachThis paper is based on 55 semi-structured interviews with Malawian women working in formal employment. From the 55 women interviewed, 31 worked in the public education sector and the remainder in the private sector’s financial and insurance sector. However, for comparison, 24 men from the same sectors were also engaged in the interviews. These were drawn from education and finance and insurance industries.FindingsAnalysis reveals that contrary to extant literature, childcare is not all or even always the main focus of family responsibilities potentially affecting Malawian women’s work life. Their experiences with reconciling work and family responsibilities were influenced by gender culture, which shapes spousal attitudes and community expectations.Research limitations/implicationsThis study has not generated results suitable for statistical generalisation, but it may still allow for theoretical generalisation to similar contexts.Practical implicationsManagers need to recognise that women may be coming from homes and communities that place demanding expectations on them.Social implicationsThere is need for promotion of gender equal social norms that enable women, just as men, to focus on their careers.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to limited literature about women’s experiences with reconciliation of work and family responsibilities in the contexts of a developing country where women have access to relatively affordable childcare support. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Gender in Management: An International Journal Emerald Publishing

Gender culture and Malawian women’s reconciliation of work and family responsibilities

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
© Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN
1754-2413
eISSN
1754-2413
DOI
10.1108/gm-11-2019-0227
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper aims to examine how cultural systems shape spousal attitudes and the expectations placed upon women. This is based on the assumption that cultural systems shaping spousal attitudes and expectations on women makes their reconciliation of work and family responsibilities difficult despite sorting out childcare challenges and support with domestic work.Design/methodology/approachThis paper is based on 55 semi-structured interviews with Malawian women working in formal employment. From the 55 women interviewed, 31 worked in the public education sector and the remainder in the private sector’s financial and insurance sector. However, for comparison, 24 men from the same sectors were also engaged in the interviews. These were drawn from education and finance and insurance industries.FindingsAnalysis reveals that contrary to extant literature, childcare is not all or even always the main focus of family responsibilities potentially affecting Malawian women’s work life. Their experiences with reconciling work and family responsibilities were influenced by gender culture, which shapes spousal attitudes and community expectations.Research limitations/implicationsThis study has not generated results suitable for statistical generalisation, but it may still allow for theoretical generalisation to similar contexts.Practical implicationsManagers need to recognise that women may be coming from homes and communities that place demanding expectations on them.Social implicationsThere is need for promotion of gender equal social norms that enable women, just as men, to focus on their careers.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to limited literature about women’s experiences with reconciliation of work and family responsibilities in the contexts of a developing country where women have access to relatively affordable childcare support.

Journal

Gender in Management: An International JournalEmerald Publishing

Published: May 21, 2021

Keywords: Malawi; Women; Family; Cultural systems; Gender culture; Formal employment

References