Gender balance in work and family life

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The findings of a 2007 survey on the reconciliation of work and family life reveal that Lithuanian society is still quite conservative about sharing family responsibilities between men and women. The main barrier to achieving a better balance between work and family life continues to be the personal attitudes of the respondents themselves. Workers who strive for higher wages and better career prospects tend to give a higher priority to work than to family life.

 

 


About the survey

In 2007, the Ministry of Social Security and Labour (Socialinės apsaugos ir darbo ministerija, SADM) commissioned UAB BGI Consulting to conduct a study entitled ‘Balance of rights, obligations and opportunities in family life and work between men and women: Socio-cultural analysis’ (Moterų ir vyrų teisių, pareigų, galimybių šeimoje ir darbe suderinimas: sociokultūrinė analizė). The aim of the research was to evaluate the situation regarding the possibilities of men and women to reconcile work and family life in the period 2004–2006. One of the steps in the research was a survey on the balance of rights, obligations and opportunities in family life and work. As part of the survey, Lithuanian residents were asked their opinions about childcare responsibilities and parental leave, the distribution of household duties between men and women, incentives and provisions for employees to reconcile work and family life, and obstacles that make the coexistence of work and family commitments difficult.

The fieldwork for the survey was conducted on 9–23 October 2007 by public opinion and market research company Spinter Tyrimai. In total, 1,002 Lithuanian residents aged 18 to 65 years were interviewed across the country using a standardised questionnaire (see Annex). A multi-stage stratified random sample was used to ensure equal probabilities for the selection of sample units.

 

 


Socio-demographic characteristics of respondents

Out of 1,002 survey respondents, women accounted for 53% and men for 47% of the sample group. By family status, all respondents were divided into three main groups: married or living in common-law marriage (64%), single (22%) and other (14%). Table 1 presents the distribution of respondents by family composition.

Table 1: Distribution of respondents by family composition
Family composition Number of respondents Proportion of respondents (%)
Parents (not single) with children 452 45.1
Single mothers/fathers 41 4.1
Retired individuals rearing/minding children 16 1.6
Individuals living in legal or common-law marriage without children 80 8.0
Individuals living alone 130 13
Other 264 26.3
No response 19 1.9
Total 1,002 100.0

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007

Regarding the main occupation at the time of the survey, the biggest share of respondents were white-collar workers (38%) and blue-collar workers or technicians (34%). Other respondents were retired individuals (9%), students and pupils (7%), self-employed individuals (5%), housekeepers (4%) and unemployed people (3%).

Some 52% of the survey respondents were employed in the private sector while 21% worked in the public sector. A further 24% of respondents were not employed at the time of the survey, while 4% did not respond to the question regarding sector of employment. Distribution of the respondents by age was relatively equal, although the proportion of respondents in the core age group (36–45 years old) is slightly higher (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Distribution of respondents, by age (%)

Distribution of respondents, by age (%)

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007

Distribution of respondents, by age (%)

Almost half of the respondents (43%) were residents in the largest Lithuanian cities – Vilnius in the southeast, Kaunas in central Lithuania, Klaipėda in the northwest, Šiauliai in the north and Panevėžys in the northeast of the country; 30% of the respondents were rural residents and 27% of them lived in small cities or towns.

The majority of the interviewed respondents (70%) had secondary or upper secondary education, while 19% had a third-level qualification and 11% a lower secondary or primary education. In terms of nationality, 84% of the interviewed respondents were Lithuanian, 7% were Polish, 7% were Russian and 3% represented other nationalities.



Attitudes towards sharing family obligations

Men’s behaviour

Uptake of parental leave

Based on the survey findings, it appears that Lithuanian society is still relatively conservative about opportunities for sharing family obligations between men and women. The question of ‘Would you (your husband – in case of female respondent) agree to take parental leave (until the child turns one year old) if you have a baby?’ received a positive answer from as few as 26.6% of the respondents. A further 13.8% of the respondents stated that they would take parental leave in turn – for example, each parent would take half of the period of parental leave. On the other hand, 54.1% of the respondents were completely negative in their answers. It is worth noting that the proportion of respondents answering ‘yes’ to this question decreased as the age of the respondents increased. In addition, more ‘yes’ answers were found among university or college graduates (31.9%), respondents with higher earnings (26%) and those living in urban areas (28.5%) (Table 2).

Table 2: Respondents’ uptake of parental leave if they have a baby (%)
Q: Would you (your husband – in case of female respondent) agree to take parental leave (until the child turns one year old) if you have a baby?
  Yes Yes, in turn with the child’s mother – each parent would take half of the period of parental leave No No answer Total
All respondents 26.6 13.8 54.1 5.5 100
Gender          
Men 21.8 17.5 55.8 4.9 100
Women 30.9 10.5 52.6 6.0 100
Age          
18–25 years 30.2 19.5 44.0 6.3 100
26–35 years 30.4 10.1 53.9 5.5 100
36–45 years 26.8 10.5 57.0 5.7 100
46–55 years 25.1 14.5 56.0 4.3 100
56 years 20.9 16.2 57.1 5.8 100
Education          
Higher level 31.9 12.0 52.9 3.1 100
Secondary 24.8 13.7 55.0 6.5 100
Lower secondary or primary 29.1 17.3 50.0 3.6 100
Monthly income level (for each household member):          
Less than LTL 500 (€144) 26.0 19.8 48.0 6.2 100
LTL 501–1,000 (€145–€289) 24.9 11.4 57.3 6.3 100
LTL 1,001–1,500 (€289–€434) 27.7 12.9 56.3 3.1 100
More than LTL 1,500 (€434) 35.1 13.5 44.6 6.8 100
Place of residence          
Large city 28.5 11.8 55.4 4.2 100
Town 28.5 16.8 51.8 2.9 100
Rural area 22.4 13.8 54.3 9.5 100

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007

Reasons for not taking parental leave

Unfortunately, the survey findings do not make it possible to single out some of the most important reasons why men do not take parental leave and preventing men from active participation in household chores – opinions of the respondents are distributed relatively evenly in this regard. Yet, it seems that the most frequent reasons cited by respondents for preventing men from assuming more family obligations are ‘reluctance to interrupt career plans/refuse career opportunities’ (Table 3) and ‘men’s opinion that childcare is women’s responsibility’ (Table 4).

The data presented in Table 3 show that men more often than women, older respondents more often than younger respondents and rural residents more often than urban residents think that ‘mistrust on the part of the child’s mother, different [parents’] attitudes towards childcare’ is an important reason why men with children do not take parental leave. ‘Fear of tiredness’ is also a reason more often chosen by rural residents than by urban ones. ‘Reluctance to interrupt career plans/refuse career opportunities’ is more often highlighted by older respondents than by younger ones.

Table 3: Reasons why men with children do not take parental leave (%)
Q: Why do you think men with children do not take parental leave?
Reason 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
All respondents 7.4 7.2 6.4 7.2 6.4 7.0 6.6 6.7 7.8
Gender                  
Men 7.5 7.2 6.6 7.3 6.4 7.0 6.6 6.6 7.8
Women 7.3 7.2 6.2 7.2 6.4 6.9 6.6 6.7 7.8
Age                  
18–25 years 7.4 7.3 6.4 7.4 6.3 7.0 6.6 6.7 8.2
26–35 years 7.4 7.3 6.3 7.2 6.6 7.0 6.7 6.8 7.9
36–45 years 7.2 7.1 6.2 7.1 6.4 6.7 6.4 6.5 7.6
46–55 years 7.6 7.3 6.5 7.2 6.4 6.9 6.6 6.5 7.7
56 years 7.4 7.2 6.7 7.3 6.5 7.3 6.7 6.9 7.8
Place of residence                  
Large city 7.5 7.3 6.2 7.3 6.3 6.9 6.5 6.5 7.9
Town 7.2 7.1 6.5 7.1 6.4 6.9 6.5 6.7 7.9
Rural area 7.5 7.3 6.6 7.2 6.7 7.2 6.7 6.9 7.6

Notes: Responses were given on a 10-point scale, where 1 = very unimportant reason and 10 = very important reason. Reasons to choose from included: 1 – Men’s opinion that childcare is women’s responsibility, 2 – Fear of not knowing how to behave with children, 3 – Mistrust on the part of the child’s mother, different [parents’] attitudes towards childcare, 4 – Reluctance to lose time and opportunities for personal improvement, 5 – Fear of tiredness, 6 – Reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other men (friends, colleagues, superiors), 7 – Reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other family members/relatives, 8 – Fear of losing male identity, 9 – Reluctance to interrupt career plans/refuse career opportunities.

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007

Reasons for not sharing household chores

As shown in Table 4, men more often than women cite ‘reluctance to quarrel with one’s partner over the order and quality of chores’ as well as ‘reluctance to lose time and opportunities for personal improvement’ as reasons for men’s failure to participate in household chores. On the other hand, women more often think that the main reason preventing men with children from actively participating in household chores is their ‘reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other men (such as friends, colleagues or superiors)’.

The youngest respondents – those aged 18–25 years – think that the most important reasons why men with children do not actively participate in household chores ‘men’s opinion that household chores are women’s tasks’ and their reluctance to lose time and opportunities for personal improvement. The oldest respondents, like the response given by women, more often think that the reason preventing men with children from active participation in household chores is their ‘reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other men’.

Respondents living in rural areas, compared with those living in urban areas, prioritise men’s attitudes as follows: household chores are women’s tasks, reluctance to lose time and opportunities for personal improvement, fear of tiredness, reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other men (such as friends, colleagues or superiors), reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other family members /relatives, and finally fear of losing male identity.

Table 4: Reasons why men with children do not actively participate in household chores (%)
Q: What do you think prevents men with children from active participation in household chores (tidying/cleaning the house, washing/ironing/handling of clothing, cooking, dishwashing/handling, etc.)?
Reason 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
All respondents 7.3 6.8 6.9 7.1 6.3 6.5 6.4 6.4
Gender                
Men 7.3 6.9 6.8 7.2 6.2 6.4 6.3 6.4
Women 7.3 6.7 6.9 7.0 6.3 6.6 6.4 6.4
Age                
18–25 years 7.5 6.6 6.9 7.4 6.3 6.5 6.3 6.4
26–35 years 7.2 6.8 6.9 7.2 6.3 6.6 6.3 6.4
36–45 years 7.4 6.7 6.8 7.0 6.2 6.4 6.4 6.4
46–55 years 7.3 6.9 6.8 7.0 6.2 6.5 6.3 6.4
56 years 7.3 6.9 6.9 7.1 6.4 6.7 6.4 6.5
Place of residence                
Large city 7.4 6.7 6.9 7.1 6.2 6.4 6.1 6.3
Town 7.1 6.8 6.7 6.9 6.2 6.5 6.4 6.4
Rural area 7.5 6.9 6.9 7.3 6.5 6.7 6.7 6.5

Notes: Responses were given on a 10-point scale, where 1 = very unimportant reason and 10 = very important reason. Reasons to choose from included: 1 – Men’s opinion that household chores are women’s tasks, 2 – Reluctance to quarrel with one’s partner over the order and quality of chores, 3 – Not knowing how to do household chores quickly and properly, 4 – Reluctance to lose time and opportunities for personal improvement, 5 – Fear of tiredness, 6 – Reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other men (such as friends, colleagues or superiors), 7 – Reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other family members/relatives, 8 – Fear of losing male identity.

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007

Women’s behaviour

Reasons for not sharing childcare responsibilities

The respondents’ opinions are also quite evenly distributed with regard to the reasons why women with children do not share childcare responsibilities and household chores with their husbands. As in the previous case, the respondents again indicated as the main reasons their ‘husband’s opinion that childcare is women’s responsibility’ and ‘reluctance to interrupt career plans/refuse career opportunities’ (Table 5).

Some differences in the responses with regard to the different characteristics of the respondents are presented in Table 5. In their answers, men considered the following reasons as the most important: ‘mistrust, fear of the child being unsafe with the father due to the latter’s temper/behaviour’, ‘reluctance to quarrel over the order and quality of childcare’ as well as ‘fear of losing exceptional bond with the child’.

It should be noted that the overall evaluation of the reasons given was higher among older respondents and those living in rural areas.

Table 5: Reasons why women with children do not share childcare responsibilities with their husbands (%)
Q: Why do you think women with children do not share childcare responsibilities with their husbands?
Reason 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
All respondents 7.4 6.9 6.9 6.6 6.7 7.0 7.2
Gender              
Men 7.4 7.0 6.9 6.7 6.8 7.1 7.1
Women 7.3 6.9 6.9 6.5 6.7 6.9 7.2
Age              
18–25 years 7.4 6.9 6.8 6.5 6.6 6.9 7.1
26–35 years 7.1 6.7 6.6 6.4 6.5 6.8 6.9
36–45 years 7.5 7.1 7.0 6.8 6.9 7.0 7.2
46–55 years 7.4 6.9 7.0 6.7 6.8 7.2 7.4
56 years 7.4 7.1 7.1 6.8 6.9 7.1 7.2
Place of residence              
Large city 7.2 6.7 6.8 6.4 6.4 6.8 7.0
Town 7.3 7.0 6.8 6.6 6.7 6.9 7.1
Rural area 7.6 7.2 7.2 7.1 7.2 7.4 7.5

Notes: Responses were given on a 10-point scale, where 1 = very unimportant reason and 10 = very important reason. Reasons to choose from included: 1 – Husband’s opinion that childcare is women’s responsibility, 2 – Fear of reluctance on the part of the child's father/guardian to take parental leave, 3 – Mistrust, fear of the child not being properly looked after if left under father’s/guardian’s care, 4 – Mistrust, fear of the child being unsafe with the father/guardian due to the latter’s temper/behaviour, 5 – Reluctance to quarrel over the order and quality of childcare, 6 – Fear of losing exceptional bond with the child, 7 – Reluctance to interrupt career plans/refuse career opportunities.

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007

Reasons for not sharing household chores

The main reason why women with children do not share household chores with their husbands or partners is ‘directly (explicitly) expressed reluctance of the partner/husband to perform household chores’ (Table 6).

Men allocated more points than women to ‘mistrust of the husband’s ability to do household chores properly’, whereas women gave more points than their male counterparts to ‘avoidance by the partner to perform household chores despite verbal agreement to get involved’.

No differences emerged in the answers of respondents in different age groups, but the overall evaluation of the reasons was higher among the respondents living in rural areas, while the respondents living in urban areas found all of the reasons to be less significant.

Table 6: Reasons why women with children do not share household chores with their husbands (%)
Q: Why do you think women with children do not share household chores with their husbands?
Reason 1 2 3 4 5 6
All respondents 7.0 6.8 6.8 7.0 6.9 6.8
Gender            
Men 7.1 6.9 6.8 7.0 6.8 6.8
Women 7.0 6.7 6.7 7.1 7.0 6.7
Age            
18–25 years 7.0 6.9 6.9 7.1 7.2 6.8
26–35 years 6.9 6.7 6.6 6.8 6.7 6.5
36–45 years 7.2 6.9 6.8 7.0 6.8 6.8
46–55 years 7.0 6.9 7.0 7.1 7.0 6.8
56 years 7.0 6.8 6.6 7.0 7.0 6.9
Place of residence            
Large city 6.9 6.6 6.6 6.8 6.7 6.5
Town 6.7 6.6 6.7 6.9 6.9 6.7
Rural area 7.5 7.3 7.2 7.4 7.3 7.2

Notes: Responses were given on a 10-point scale, where 1 = very unimportant reason and 10 = very important reason. Reasons to choose from included: 1 – Husband’s opinion that household chores are women’s tasks. 2 – Mistrust of the husband’s ability to do household chores properly, 3 – Fear of losing own order at home, 4 – Directly (explicitly) expressed reluctance of the partner/husband to perform household chores, 5 – Avoidance by the partner to perform household chores despite verbal agreement to get involved, 6 – Reluctance to quarrel over the order and quality of chores.

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007



Attitudes towards balance between family and work obligations

Impediments to work–life balance

Respondents were asked to indicate the reasons mainly impeding them from achieving a better balance between their work-related and personal commitments (Table 7).

As many as 55% of respondents pointed out that the main reason impeding their work–life balance needs was their ‘desire/need to earn more’. Moreover, 23% of respondents highlighted their ‘desire to seek career development’ as the main obstacle to achieving a better work–life balance. ‘Pressure from management’ and ‘fear of losing one’s job’ shared the third and fourth places among the respondents’ answers – each accounting for 22% of the respondents’ answers.

It is also worth noting that there are no significant differences in the distribution of answers deviating from the general trend when looking at gender, marital status, presence of children in the household or sector of employment. Slightly more dispersed answers were recorded by age group and according to where respondents live: younger respondents and those living in larger cities more often indicated the need to advance in their career as one of the reasons impeding their work–life balance.

Table 7: Reasons for main impediments to better work–life balance (%)
Q: Which of the reasons below are the main impediments to better work–family balance for you?
Reason 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
All respondents 22.4 22.1 8.2 1.6 4.4 54.8 23.1 5.1
Gender                
Men 21.7 20.7 9.2 1.6 3.0 54.6 21.5 5.4
Women 22.9 23.4 7.3 1.5 5.8 54.9 24.7 4.8
Age                
18–25 years 19.4 13.9 4.2 4.2 4.2 43.1 36.1 12.5
26–35 years 23.0 25.5 7.5 1.5 6.0 48.0 28.0 3.5
36–45 years 21.9 23.3 10.0 1.4 3.3 62.4 19.0 4.8
46–55 years 23.9 21.8 9.0 1.1 4.8 55.3 17.6 5.9
56 years 21.1 18.9 7.4 1.1 3.2 60.0 23.2 2.1
Marital status                
Single 20.5 24.1 5.5 2.4 5.5 51.2 27.6 6.3
Married 23.3 24.1 9.5 1.5 4.0 53.2 23.1 5.1
Other 19.2 17.3 5.8 1.0 5.8 66.3 18.3 3.8
Presence of children                
With children 21.8 24.4 11.5 1.3 3.9 54.6 23.6 4.2
Without children 22.9 19.8 4.9 1.8 4.9 54.9 22.7 6.0
Place of residence                
Large city 16.4 20.2 7.3 1.3 4.4 56.5 32.5 7.3
Town 34.6 28.6 9.2 1.8 5.1 53.9 22.6 4.6
Rural area 19.0 18.6 8.7 1.7 3.9 53.2 10.8 2.6
Sector of employment                
Private 23.8 21.3 7.5 1.0 4.2 58.8 22.3 6.2
Public 22.4 27.3 11.2 2.9 3.9 52.7 29.8 3.4

Notes: No more than three answer categories were selected by respondents. Reasons to choose from included: 1 – Pressure from management, 2 – Fear of losing one’s job, 3 – Pressure from family members/necessity for more attention to be paid to them, 4 – Demands from friends or acquaintances to pay more attention to them, 5 – Fear of losing contacts with close acquaintances (other than colleagues), 6 – Desire/need to earn more, 7 – Desire to seek career development, 8 – Other.

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007

Important incentives while choosing an employer

According to the survey, when choosing an employer, the respondents mainly care – apart from wages – about the following: more flexible working hours allowing respondents to attend to family matters when necessary and to work the time taken for this purpose at a later stage (this answer was chosen by as many as 56% of the respondents); medical insurance and social events organised by the employer for the employees (each of these answers was chosen by 35% of the respondents). Other incentives such as ‘supplementary insurance services’ and ‘possibility to visit sport clubs, to attend language courses or to enjoy other similar services free of charge/at a discount’ were considered as important for respectively 23.8% and 25.1% of the respondents. No significant differences emerged between responses when looking at other background variables (Table 8).

Table 8: Emphasis of employees on incentives while choosing an employer (%)
Q: How much do you, as an employee, care about methods of incentives while choosing an employer, not to mention the wage size and other direct financial criteria (for example, bonuses, additions, etc.)?
Incentive 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
All respondents 55.8 5.6 6.1 35.0 23.8 25.1 34.8 10.8
Gender                
Men 54.9 5.7 4.9 34.0 25.0 21.7 33.2 10.3
Women 56.7 5.5 7.3 36.0 22.7 28.2 36.3 11.3
Age                
18–25 years 58.3 4.2 6.9 27.8 20.8 31.9 34.7 12.5
26–35 years 55.5 6.0 7.5 30.0 21.0 24.5 34.5 8.5
36–45 years 55.2 5.2 6.7 38.1 29.5 28.6 34.3 11.9
46–55 years 59.0 6.9 5.9 42.0 20.7 19.1 32.4 11.7
56 years 49.5 4.2 2.1 30.5 25.3 25.3 41.1 10.5
Marital status                
Single 58.3 4.7 3.9 32.3 25.2 22.8 30.7 9.4
Married 56.4 6.3 6.4 36.0 24.4 25.9 35.0 11.0
Other 51.9 1.9 6.7 32.7 19.2 24.0 38.5 12.5
Presence of children                
With children 55.9 5.5 8.4 34.6 24.7 26.8 33.6 11.0
Without children 55.7 5.7 3.9 35.4 22.9 23.4 35.9 10.7
Place of residence                
Large city 53.0 5.0 5.4 35.3 24.3 27.8 36.3 14.5
Town 57.6 6.9 9.7 31.3 23.5 25.3 36.9 11.1
Rural area 58.0 5.2 3.9 38.1 23.4 21.2 30.7 5.6
Sector of employment                
Private 58.7 5.6 4.4 37.1 25.2 27.7 31.3 9.2
Public 55.6 5.4 10.2 35.6 24.9 23.4 47.3 16.6

Notes: No more than three answer categories were selected by respondents. Incentives to choose from included: 1 – More flexible working hours allowing for handling of family matters when necessary and working the time taken for this purpose at a later stage, 2 – Possibility to bring children to the workplace and leave them in a workplace family room, 3 – Employer-supervised kindergartens, classes or meetings for children, with working hours being matched to employees’ working hours and payment not exceeding usual charges in public kindergartens, 4 – Medical insurance, 5 – Supplementary insurance services, 6 – Possibility to visit sports clubs, to attend language courses or to enjoy other similar services free of charge/at a discount, 7 – Parties, events or trips organised by the employer for company employees, 8 – Parties, events or trips organised by the employer for the employees’ families and children.

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007

Discrimination of employees with or without children

According to most respondents (75%), employees with and without children enjoy equal opportunities in their company. Only 5.4% of total respondents and 5.2% of respondents with children indicated that employees with children suffered more discrimination at work as they often have less responsible job tasks or no career advancement opportunities (Table 9).

Table 9: Views on discrimination of employees with/without children in the workplace (%)
Q: With regard to equal opportunities, do you think there is any discrimination of employees with/without children in your workplace?
Answer 1 2 3 4 5
All respondents 11.1 5.4 75.3 3.8 4.4
Presence of children          
With children 9.4 5.2 78.7 2.9 3.7
Without children 12.8 5.5 71.9 4.7 5.2

Notes: No more than three answer categories were selected by respondents. Answers to choose from included: 1 – Yes, employees with children enjoy more privileges/special provisions, 2 – Yes, employees with children experience more discriminating treatment in my workplace (in the form of being assigned less responsible job tasks, no career advancement opportunities, etc.), 3 – No, employees with children enjoy equal opportunities as other employees do, 4 – There are no employees with children in my workplace, 5 – No answer.

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007

Opportunity to adjust working hours

In total, 57% of the respondents stated that they would favour an opportunity to adjust working hours themselves subject to their personal needs and with the prior agreement of their superiors. Analysis of the distribution of answers of different groups of respondents shows that the opportunity to adjust working hours is most relevant to public sector employees (65%), as well as unmarried respondents (61%), respondents aged 26–35 years (61%) and respondents living in towns (60%) (Table 10). It is also interesting to note that most respondents with a flexible work schedule are found in the private sector, have children and live in large cities.

Table 10: Opportunity of respondents to adjust working hours subject to personal needs and prior agreement of superiors
Q: Would it be attractive for you to have an opportunity to adjust working hours yourself subject to your personal needs and the prior agreement of your superiors, provided that the number of working hours is 40 hours a week but you would have an opportunity to adjust the length of your working day on different days (for example, to work six hours one day and 10 hours another day, etc.)?
  Yes No I am working under a free work schedule now and I am happy about it I do not know
All respondents 56.9 10.3 11.0 21.6
Gender        
Men 53.5 8.7 11.7 25.5
Women 59.9 11.8 10.3 17.9
Age        
18–25 years 55.6 5.6 9.7 29.2
26–35 years 61.0 10.5 9.0 19.5
36–45 years 56.2 11.0 12.9 20.0
46–55 years 55.3 11.2 12.2 20.7
56 years 53.7 10.5 9.5 25.3
Marital status        
Single 61.4 7.9 11.8 18.9
Married 55.9 11.7 11.0 21.0
Other 55.8 6.7 10.6 26.9
Presence of children        
With children 56.2 10.2 13.1 20.2
Without children 57.6 10.4 8.9 22.9
Place of residence        
Large city 57.4 10.4 12.0 20.2
Town 60.4 11.5 9.2 18.4
Rural area 52.8 9.1 11.3 26.4
Sector of employment        
Private 56.3 9.4 15.0 18.8
Public 64.9 12.2 2.9 20.0

Source: Ministry of Social Security and Labour, 2007



Conclusions

On the whole, it is quite difficult to evaluate the survey findings, because it is the first survey of its kind to be carried out in Lithuania and therefore no benchmark is available for drawing comparisons. In general, it can be concluded that the problem of work–life balance has not been discussed and addressed adequately by policymakers in Lithuania. In fact, the survey findings reveal that Lithuanians exhibit rather conservative attitudes towards work–life balance. Overall, respondents in younger age groups and with higher educational attainment are less conservative regarding the distribution of family obligations between men and women. The main reason impeding work–life balance is the desire or need to earn more money or to seek career development. Finally, according to the survey results, more flexible working hours is one of the most important factors in achieving a better work–life balance. Moreover, discrimination on the grounds of family composition is not a prevailing feature in the working life of most Lithuanians.

Annex: Questionnaire

1. Gender:

  • Men
  • Women

2. Age:

  • 18–25 years
  • 26–35 years
  • 36–45 years
  • 46–55 years
  • 56 years

3. Education:

  • tertiary
  • secondary or upper secondary
  • lower secondary or primary

4. Family status:

  • si
  • ngle
  • married or living in common-law marriage
  • other

5. Main occupation:

  • white-collar worker
  • blue-collar worker or technician
  • self-employed
  • unemployed
  • retired person
  • student/pupil
  • housekeeper

6. Nationality:

  • Lithuanian
  • Russian
  • Polish
  • Other

7. Place of residence

  • Vilnius
  • Kaunas
  • Klaipėda
  • Šiauliai
  • Panevėžys
  • small city or town
  • rural area

8. Would you (your husband – in case of female respondent) agree to take parental leave (until the child turns one year old) if you have a baby?

  • Yes
  • Yes, in turn with the child’s mother (for example, each parent would take half of the period of parental leave)
  • No

9. Why do you think men with children do not take parental leave?’ (Responses on a 10-point scale, where 1 = very unimportant reason, 10 = very important reason)

  • Men’s opinion that childcare is women’s responsibility
  • Fear of not knowing how to behave with children
  • Mistrust on the part of the child’s mother, different [parents’] attitudes towards childcare
  • Reluctance to lose time and opportunities for personal improvement
  • Fear of tiredness
  • Reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other men (such as friends, colleagues or superiors)
  • Reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other family members/relatives
  • Fear of losing male identity
  • Reluctance to interrupt career plans/refuse career opportunities

10. What do you think prevents men with children from active participation in household chores (tidying/cleaning the house, washing/ironing/handling of clothing, cooking, dishwashing/handling, etc.)?’ (Responses on a 10-point scale, where 1 = very unimportant reason, 10 = very important reason).

  • Men’s opinion that household chores are women’s tasks
  • Reluctance to quarrel with one’s partner over the order and quality of chores
  • Not knowing how to do household chores quickly and properly
  • Reluctance to lose time and opportunities for personal improvement
  • Fear of tiredness
  • Reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other men (such as friends, colleagues or superiors)
  • Reluctance to be devalued/sneered at by other family members/relatives
  • Fear of losing male identity

11. Why do you think women with children do not share childcare responsibilities with their husbands?’ (Responses on a 10-point scale, where 1 = very unimportant reason, 10 = very important reason).

  • Husband’s opinion that childcare is women’s responsibility
  • Fear of reluctance on the part of the child’s father/guardian to take parental leave
  • Mistrust, fear of the child not being properly looked after if left under father’s/guardian’s care
  • Mistrust, fear of the child being unsafe with the father/guardian due to the latter’s temper/behaviour
  • Reluctance to quarrel over the order and quality of childcare
  • Fear of losing exceptional bond with the child
  • Reluctance to interrupt career plans/refuse career opportunities

12. Why do you think women with children do not share household chores with their husbands?’ (Responses on a 10-point scale, where 1 = very unimportant reason, 10 = very important reason).

  • Husband’s opinion that household chores are women’s tasks
  • Mistrust of the husband’s ability to do household chores properly
  • Fear of losing own order at home
  • Directly (explicitly) expressed reluctance of the partner/husband to perform household chores
  • Avoidance by the partner to perform household chores despite verbal agreement to get involved
  • Reluctance to quarrel over the order and quality of chores

13. To which one of the below-listed categories do you attribute yourself?

  • Parents (not single) with children
  • Single mothers/fathers
  • Retired individuals rearing/minding children
  • Individuals living in legal or common-law marriage without children
  • Individuals living alone
  • Other

14. In which sector – public or private – are you working?

  • Public
  • Private
  • I am not working

15. Which of the reasons below are the main impediments to better work–family balance for you? (No more than three answer categories selected by respondents)

  • Pressure from management
  • Fear of losing one’s job
  • Pressure from family members/necessity for more attention to be paid to them
  • Demands from friends or acquaintances to pay more attention to them
  • Fear of losing contacts with close acquaintances (other than colleagues)
  • Desire/need to earn more
  • Desire to seek career development
  • Other

16. How much do you, as an employee, care about methods of incentives while choosing an employer, not to mention wage size and other direct financial criteria (for example, bonuses, additions, etc.)?’ (No more than three answer categories selected by respondents)

  • More flexible working hours allowing for handling of family matters when necessary and working the time taken for this purpose at a later stage
  • Possibility to bring children to the workplace and leave them in a workplace family room
  • Employer-supervised kindergartens, classes or meetings for children, with working hours being matched to employees’ working hours and payment not exceeding usual charges in public kindergartens
  • Medical insurance
  • Supplementary insurance services
  • Possibility to visit sports clubs, to attend language courses or to enjoy other similar services free of charge/at a discount
  • Parties, events or trips organised by the employer for company employees
  • Parties, events or trips organised by the employer for the employees’ families and children

17. With regard to equal opportunities, do you think there is any discrimination of employees with/without children in your workplace? (No more than three answer categories selected by respondents)

  • Yes, employees with children enjoy more privileges/special provisions
  • Yes, employees with children experience more discriminating treatment in my workplace (in the form of being assigned less responsible job tasks, no career advancement opportunities, etc)
  • No, employees with children enjoy equal opportunities as other employees do
  • There are no employees with children in my workplace

18. Would it be attractive for you to have an opportunity to adjust working hours yourself subject to your personal needs and the prior agreement of your superiors, provided that the number of working hours is 40 hours a week but you would have an opportunity to adjust the length of your working day on different days (for example, to work six hours one day and 10 hours another day, etc.)?

  • Yes
  • No
  • I am working under a free work schedule now and I am happy about it
  • I do not know
  •  

Inga Blažienė, Institute of Labour and Social Research

EF/09/37/EN

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