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Title:The work/family experience in the informal labor market: Evidence from informally employed mothers in Brazil
Author(s):Matthew, Lenore E.
Director of Research:Wu, Chi-Fang
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Wu, Chi-Fang
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Lough, Benjamin J.; Windsor, Liliane; Arends-Kuenning, Mary
Department / Program:School of Social Work
Discipline:Social Work
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):informal labor, work/family conflict, gender, Brazil, informal sector, motherhood
Abstract:Among the most notable global trends in recent decades is the increase in the number of women in the paid workforce. Curiously, as women have moved into paid work, there has been no significant shift in how caregiving and household responsibilities are distributed in the home. As a result, working women—and particularly working mothers—have had to undertake dual work/family roles. A growing body of research seeks to understand working mothers’ work/family experience; however, this literature is limited with respect to the methods used, populations studied, and country contexts explored. Very few studies have explored the work/family experience among women in low and middle-income countries, and still fewer have focused on low-income, racially-diverse working mothers in those countries. Furthermore, very little research from any country explores the work/family experience through a qualitative lens. In effort to address these gaps in the literature, this study explores the work/family experience as lived by low-income, Afro-Brazilian, informally employed mothers in the city of Salvador, Brazil. Using a phenomenological approach and Giorgi’s descriptive analytical method, six themes with 21 sub-themes emerged from interviews with 24 mothers in Salvador. The study results suggest that for these mothers, the work/family experience is a difficult and precarious one, shaped by persistent micro and macro-societal biases at home and in the labor market. These biases manifest along four intersecting lines: gender, race, class, and motherhood status. Going forward in policy and practice, these biases must be challenged. The provision of quality, affordable care for all working mothers, and the equitable inclusion of informally employed mothers in the labor market are two pressing areas for intervention.
Issue Date:2018-04-17
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Lenore Elizabeth Matthew
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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