There's more news about those upstart Time Radicals.
A few weeks ago, the Time Saver looked at time issues among women and members of the 13th Generation -- that is, the group born between 1961 and 1981, in the 13th generation since the country was founded. A study by Demos, a British think tank, showed both groups wanted more freedom to arrange their work schedules so they could produce quality work that meets deadlines, but without the rigidity of traditional office-bound work hours. Thus the name Time Radicals. On the heels of the Demos report comes "Women: The New Providers," a Whirlpool Foundation study by the Families and Work Institute about women's views on family, work, society and the future. (Louis Harris and Associates conducted the survey.)
"A full third of both women and men say they would work part-time if they could," says Arlene A. Johnson, vice president of the institute and principal investigator on the study. It was one of the facts that surprised her. (Another was that one in five men said he would stay at home and keep house if he could -- a significant increase over 1981 figures.)
But working part-time as a professional is a radical idea whose time hasn't quite come. "We need to decriminalize part-time work," she says. "It has the connotation of being secondary work, a separate class of work. It's looked at as dropping out. What respondents in this study are saying is that they want part-time, professional work. They want meaningful part-time work."
As a society we need to focus more on helping people manage their multiple responsibilities to work and home, she says. One way to do that is for employers to offer part-time jobs in professional fields that pay well and have prorated benefits. "The employers who do that will have the pick of the pack. They will be able to hire talented, creative, energetic people who are very committed to their work," asserts Ms. Johnson. Other findings showed that women are still struggling with some familiar issues:
* Most women now accept that they have a necessary, dual role in their families as both a nurturer and an economic provider -- 55 percent of the women surveyed said they provide half or more of their family income. But 38 percent said they are worried about being able to integrate family and work life.
* A plurality of women say good relationships and spending time together make them feel most successful at home. However, 51 percent say they worry "a great deal" about their family not having enough time together.
"The report poses dilemmas," acknowledges Ms. Johnson. "It reveals contradictions in how women feel. But these are dilemmas we should be talking about. And if studies like this don't cause us to lift our eyes up and imagine [a better world], then what good are they?"
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