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Beda Meiern: Nine of ten men said they would like to reduce their working time so that they could spend more time with their children.
Beda Meiern, head of the office for equality in canton St Gallen, where they asked the Pro Family organisation to find out how men currently feel about cutting down their hours at work.
One of the most significant findings was that the men questioned said they’d be ready to take a pay cut in return for working less.
Beda Meiern: This was really astonishing. It proves that the concern about family and children is really a serious concern—as serious as that it leads men to the point that they say—okay, a little less money at the end of the month and on the other hand more time with my children, that’s okay.
For family relationships researcher, Diana Baumgarten at the University of Basel’s Centre for Gender Studies, this is evidence of a change in attitudes that’s been growing for a while.
Diana Baumgarten: It’s more accepted that a man who’s a father says, I also want to be inside of the family, not only earn the money and be a kind of guest inside the family.
And that’s partly to do with a generational shift:
Diana Baumgarten: More and more men especially who became fathers, have more and more a need of also having a substantial role in families. They remember, okay, I missed my father, actually I needed him when I was a teenager and he wasn’t there so I will do it in a better way with my kids.
The study showed that one of the biggest worries for men in asking to go part-time was that they’d miss out on career opportunities.
These men I spoke to in Zurich weren’t completely convinced either:
Well I think you have to consider all aspects of the needs of the employer and sometimes money’s not everything.
To work 80 percent, I think is a good possibility for children.
It depends how your salary is, if you’re living on a minimum then it’s very dificult to do it I guess.
I think everyone wants to work less hours, that would be the ideal, but life’s not like that unfortunately, but there are ways I think of working less hours and, what they say, work smarter not harder.
In researcher Diana Baumgarten’s opinion there’s a split between firms that have caught onto the more flexible approach and those that want employees to be available all day, five days a week:
Diana Baumgarten: There are a lot of companies, even big companies, who got the impression if they give employees the possibility to have a good balance between private life and jobs, they will be more produceful at their jobs. But this needs a kind of special organisation in the company
As men who’ve tried out working part time move up the career ladder, Diana Baumgarten thinks they’ll be more likely to let those below them do the same.
Jo Fahy, World Radio Switzerland in Zurich
Total comments: 1 | Add to the discussion.
My husband and I decided to work each 50% in order to be able to take care of our little daughter. We both enjoy very much seeing her growth and we would like to spend as much time as possible with her. We also see our daughter developing into such a happy toddler since she does not need to spend her time with a care giver or nursery. She is just a very happy toddler and we are very happy parents. Of course we need to spend our money very wisely and are conscious that there is less money at the end of the month but we think it is worth it. If one can get into such working conditions of 50 or 80% then I think one should make use of this opportunities then only then we can start achieving gender equality. It is imperative that men also start using their rights.