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Negotiating work life and family life: young mothers in contemporary China

Zhang, Yi (2018) Negotiating work life and family life: young mothers in contemporary China. PhD thesis, University of York.

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There has been growing interest among both academics and the public in the issue of work-family balance. The emergence of this issue is related to married women’s employment rates and the greater diversity of families and workplaces in the 21st century. In this thesis, I explore young Chinese women’s views on and experiences of balancing working life and family life in northern China. Drawing upon in-depth interviews with 34 young mothers conducted in Jilin Province, I focus on three main questions: 1) How do young-generation women manage childcare, paid work and filial obligation on a daily basis in China? 2) What are young-generation women’s attitudes to and practices of domestic labour and filial piety in China? 3) What factors facilitate or hinder a balance between working life and family life? My data is analysed in three chapters, focusing on: the domestic division of labour in China: meanings and practices; daily journeys while coordinating work, care and education; practising and displaying xiao – young mothers’ negotiations of obligations to elders. I argue that, despite past Maoist rhetoric on gender equality, women retain the primary responsibility for housework, childcare and filial obligation, which reveals the persistent gender inequality within families, although adaptation and greater gender equality was reflected in some cases. By bringing Western and Chinese concepts into dialogue with each other, this study contributes to the understanding of the continuing family changes and distinctive context of work and family in China.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Academic Units: The University of York > Centre for Women's Studies (York)
Depositing User: MS Yi Zhang
Date Deposited: 20 Mar 2018 15:08
Last Modified: 20 Mar 2018 15:08
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19558

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