Article

'Live to work' or 'work to live'? A qualitative study of gender and work-life balance among men and women in mid-life

Citation

Emslie C & Hunt K (2009) 'Live to work' or 'work to live'? A qualitative study of gender and work-life balance among men and women in mid-life. Gender, Work and Organization, 16 (1), pp. 151-172. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0432.2008.00434.x

Abstract
Many contemporary studies of 'work-life balance' either ignore gender or take it for granted. We conducted semi-structured interviews with men and women in mid-life (aged 50 to 52 years) in order to compare their experiences of work-life balance. Our data suggest that gender remains embedded in the ways that respondents negotiate home and work life. The women discussed their current problems juggling a variety of roles (despite having no young children at home), while men confined their discussion of such conflicts to the past, when their children were young. However, diversity among men (some of whom 'worked to live' while others 'lived to work') and women (some of whom constructed themselves in relation to their families, while others positioned themselves as 'independent women') was apparent, as were some commonalities between men and women (both men and women constructed themselves as 'pragmatic workers'). We suggest ways in which gender-neutral theories of work-life balance may be extended.

Keywords
gender; work–life balance; lifecourse; qualitative analysis

Journal
Gender, Work and Organization: Volume 16, Issue 1

StatusPublished
FundersMedical Research Council and University of Glasgow
Publication date31/01/2009
Publication date online31/12/2008
URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1893/28969
ISSN0968-6673
eISSN1468-0432