Balancing Work and Family in Industrialized Countries: Japan and the Netherlands
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Cross-country qualitative study interviewing 24 working Japanse mothers in Japan (n=12) and the Netherlands (n=12) on their experiences balancing work and family in both policy settings. Work-life policies such as maternity leave, parental leave, and flexible work arrangements are imperative to helping working women balance a career and family, yet available policies do not always correspond to their efficient utilization. This research uses Sen’s capability framework to analyze working Jpanese mothers’ capabilities to reconcile work and family, and to what extent their opportunities and decisions to do so are shaped by national policies, or (Japanese) socio-cultural norms. A better understanding of the role of national context aims to help researchers and policy makers better take national context into account when improving existing work-life policies and developing new ones.