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Work And Family Conflict Among Bangladeshi Dual Career Couples

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Are you that man, who cooks at 8 pm, when your wife is attending a meeting at the office! Are you that woman, who pays the bills, when your husband isn’t able to bring his pay cheques on time! In this 21st century, Bangladeshi society still characterizes the traditional family norm, where the man is the ‘breadwinner’ who goes to work every day, purses a career, brings the pay check and pay the bills. Sometime take part in family responsibilities, which we can consider as minor duties. The female only plays as a ‘supporting role’ and do the household chores and rear the children. But recently, some families are changing or we can say breaking this stereotype, by integrating both their work and family life. These working people who are committed into a relationship are been categorized as ‘dual career couples’.

Nowadays, we can see such couples more often in Dhaka city, due to increasing participation of women in labor force employment. Women empowerment movement and economic requirements has influenced more women to participate in the marketplace place. As women entering in the market place this causes various complications, stress and demands in the division of household activities. Recently, Bangladesh is improvising their women more in the workforce by providing them easier access to job market and education system. These scopes are creating more dual career couples and declining the traditional family form. The main purpose of these families is earning family income for several reasons. Regardless of financial benefits, these couple faces drastic challenges and conflicts. Main problems that arise are work-family conflicts, childcare, division of house management, marital problems and psychological health.

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In Bangladesh, motherhood is considered as the most desirable role and marriage is appraised the goal of a women’s life creates a huge impact on the concept of women’s independence and autonomy. Women are expanding their roles in both family life and workplaces, which creates more opportunities for them to contribute in the nation’s economic along with their contribution to the family. Industrialized society underwent a remarkable change during the last quarter of the twentieth century particularly with regard to the roles of men and women in the labor-force and, to a lesser extent, in the home. This change was done due to women movement for equal opportunity in the workplace. As the economic condition of Bangladesh isn’t that well, for which man’s wages are declining and increased the necessity of women employment for the family.

According to Rapport and Rapport (1979), dual career couples were categorized in four types: familistic, careerist, conventional and coordinate. The major difference between familistic and careerist couples are that familistic couples are most active in the household sphere, whereas careerist couples are more concerned about occupational advancement. Traditional family roles prevail in conventional families, where the female sacrifices her career in favors of the man. The coordinate type of family is characterized by a careerist male who is willing to participate in the household activities and a familistic female with career aspirations. Majority of men in Bangladesh are principled to the conventional families, they allow their wives to explore few years after marriage but eventually women has to compromise her dream, independence under certain situations. Minorities of the men have a family where both partners are exceptionally involved in all their roles are known as acrobats, this term was identified by Hall and Hall (1980). Both partners in dual career couples gains benefits apart from difficulties they encounters, the major advantages is increasing standard of living, double pay cheques, new educational opportunities, job flexibilities and career advancement possibilities. Despite of all the advantages, Bangladeshi dual career couple faces huge amount of challenges and conflicts. As these problems and conflicts are so visible, it can be easily identified.

One of the main challenges is rearing their children. Because of this, they have to depend on other family members and friends. Also the children of such families become alienated from the extended family. These types of parenthood problems increase the complicacy in marital life. Complicacies in marital life can also occur due to the wife’s achievement and this turns into nepotism. This leads to more disagreements and strains, as a result divorcing rate is increasing.

A dual career couple also faces day-to-day challenges to accomplish household activities such as cooking, shopping, cleaning etc. This issue has a great impact as both partners compare their works. Dual career couples are constantly manipulating to balance the work and family life, thus experiences work-family conflict, conflicts among the roles. Such pressure creates several health issues like sleep deprived, high level of burnouts, mental health and impaired health. These health issues create a diminished job satisfaction and career success, lowers marital qualities and motivations and less life satisfaction. Ultimately, the efficientness and effectiveness of potential employees of an organization are wasted. This is a rising problem, which should be the new concern of the HR’s of Bangladesh of every organization. A true balance between work and family comes with knowing that both activities are integrated, not separated.

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