BALANCING PROFESSIONAL AND PRIVATE LIFE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

BALANCING PROFESSIONAL AND PRIVATE LIFE IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

current STATE OF GENDER EQUALITY IN RURAL AREAS:

(TERA Research, 2022)

#1

47

%

of WOMEN

expressed being overburdened in aspects of professional and family life compared to 16% of men.

#2

80

%

of men

are convinced that the mental and physical loads are evenly distributed.

#3

25

%

of women

in the countryside does not have opportunites to pursue leisure activities.

#4

1h

(or less!)

time is dedicated to everyday household chores by 48% of men. 17% of men do not do these jobs at all. 80% of women devote 2-4 hours a day to these tasks.

#5

1x

greater

is the incidence of violence towards women compared to men. 38-50% of women do not treat shouting, insults and threats as acts of violence.

#6

67%

of men

believe that we are moving in the direction of gender equality, while 43% of women do not share this opinion.

CURRENT STATE OF GENDER EQUALITY IN RURAL AREAS:

(TERA RESEARCH, 2022)

#1

47

%

of women

expressed being overburdened in aspects of professional and family life compared to 16% of men.

#2

80

%

of men

are convinced that the mental and physical loads are evenly distributed.

#3

25

%

of women

in the countryside does not have opportunites to pursue leisure activities.

#4

1h

(or less!)

time is dedicated to everyday household chores by 48% of men. 17% of men do not do these jobs at all. 80% of women devote 2-4 hours a day to these tasks.

#5

1x

greater

is the incidence of violence towards women compared to men. 38-50% of women do not treat shouting, insults and threats as acts of violence.

#6

67

%

of men

believe that we are moving in the direction of gender equality, while 43% of women do not share this opinion.

tera

EDUCATIONAL / AWARENESS PROGRAM

Based on the results of the national survey and other activities that were carried out, the TERA educational-awareness program was prepared, which contains 6 modules (each module is implemented in the form of a lecture and an accompanying workshop). The content of the modules responds to the challenges posed by the TERA project, and they can be divided into three key content sections, namely:

1

Gender stereotypes and gender roles of women and men in rural areas

2

Work-life balance and gender equality

3

Challenges and obstacles in finding a balance between professional and private life in rural areas - how to proceed and how differently?

6 MODULES OF TERA program

TERA brochure

With the aim of facilitating the implementation and ensuring comparability of the experience of transferring TERA knowledge through the educational program and, as a result, the widest possible use of the educational program, we have prepared a Manual for the use of the program. It contains the content cues of each module, that serve to deliver the content more efficiently.

40 mentors were selected from the network of existing members of ZKS and ZSPM, who will form 20 mentoring pairs. Mentor pairs will work in 20 different local environments, which will be spread across all regions of Slovenia. The mentors have passed the training for members of the mentoring scheme, and until the end of January 2024, they will conduct workshops based on the TERA educational program throughout Slovenia. In addition to offering workshops, mentors will be available for additional individual monitoring, counseling and mentoring of people, with the aim of improving the coordination of professional and private lives of people living in rural areas.

>> Members of the TERA mentoring scheme

As part of the TERA project, two local committees were established to facilitate dialogue and coordination between various stakeholders in the regions of Pomurje and Posavje. These committees serve as platforms for discussing the challenges and opportunities associated with balancing professional and private life. They are a novel service in the regions, providing knowledge and space for stakeholders to identify issues and work together to find practical solutions.

The committees consist of a diverse group of at least 100 local stakeholders, including representatives from local authorities, employers, public services, economic interest associations, youth centers, cultural institutes, non-governmental organizations, and others. Through collaborative dialogue within the committees, these stakeholders aim to develop and implement a set of tailored measures that can help individuals better manage the demands of their professional and private lives.

The committee meetings play a crucial role in adopting and implementing these measures, which are designed to ease the coordination of professional and private life. You can find more details about these measures by following  this link.

3 LEVELS

of COORDINATIng the PROFESSIONAL AND PRIVATE lives IN THE COUNTRYSIDE

1

PERSONAL LEVEL

Inclusion of men in caregiving work, active fatherhood, and equitable division of household chores...

2

INSTITUTIONAL LEVEL

In rural areas, the coordination of professional and private life can be particularly influenced by the limited access to certain key (public) social infrastructure.

3

LEGISLATIVE LEVEL

The Parental Care and Family Benefits Act (ZSDP-1) (link) provides allowances and more flexible forms of work that are comparable to the most advanced countries in this field.

WHY IS IT NECESSARY TO STRIVE FOR AN INCLUSIVE WORK ENVIRONMENT, THAT WILL BE BASED ON GENDER EQUALITY?

The unequal position and obstacles faced by women in the labor market, even before they can enter it, not only hinder their progress but also place them in an even more disadvantaged position before every upheaval or crisis, as painfully demonstrated by the COVID-19 pandemic and recent economic crisis. The economic crisis resulting from the pandemic, which we are experiencing today, has greatly affected girls and women, particularly in terms of access to education and participation in the labor market.

 

However, as numerous reports have highlighted (including the World Development Report 2012), gender equality benefits not only women but also the economy as a whole. When women and men have equal rights, the economy has better prospects for growth and is more resilient to crises. In fact, no country can truly achieve its full potential without equal economic participation of women and men.

 

The global average of the Women, Business, and the Law index is 76.5 out of 100, indicating that 2.4 billion working-age women lack equal economic opportunities, and 178 countries maintain legal barriers that prevent women’s full economic participation. Only 12 countries, all within the OECD, have reached a score of 100, meaning that women have equal legal standing as men in all eight measured areas: mobility, workplace, pay, marriage, parenthood, entrepreneurship, property, and pension (World Bank, 2022).

 

In summary, addressing gender inequality in work processes and organizations is crucial. It not only promotes women’s empowerment and enhances their economic opportunities but also contributes to the overall growth and resilience of the economy. Achieving gender equality is essential for the full realization of a country’s potential and the well-being of society as a whole.

  • All individuals would receive equal compensation for work of equal or comparable value, regardless of their gender.
  • Obstacles to women’s full and equal participation in the labor market would be overcome.
  • Equal opportunities would be provided for all individuals to access any profession or industry, including leadership roles, regardless of gender.
  • All forms of gender-based discrimination, including those related to family and caregiving responsibilities, would be abolished.
 

As highlighted by the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE), striving for gender equality in the economy would have a powerful and positive impact on GDP, leading to sustained growth. By 2050, the enhancement of gender equality could increase the EU’s GDP per capita by 6.1% to 9.6%, amounting to €1.95 to €3.15 trillion. This progress in gender equality would also create an additional 10.5 million jobs by 2050, benefiting both women and men.

 

Efforts to achieve and uphold an organizational culture based on gender equality must transcend mere rhetoric and be translated into active processes of implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and continuous improvement!

 

MEASURES

FOR ORGANIZATIONS STRIVING TO ACHIEVE AND PROMOTE GENDER EQUALITY

We propose measures that respond to broader current challenges related to the current state of (in)equality between the sexes, or the unequal position of women on the labor market.

MEASURE 1

A plan for work-life balance (Measuring satisfaction, enabling new initiatives, managing violations through policies, etc.)

GOAL:

Improving working conditions to ensure equal treatment of all genders.

MEASURE 2

Organizing fundamental training to promote gender equality within work environments.

GOAL:

Establishment of an organizational culture based on gender equality.

MEASURE 3

Encouraging Active Fatherhood.

GOAL:

Overcoming gender stereotyping.

MEASURE 4

Establishment of a reward and stimulus system that is not dependent on caregiving responsibilities or the gender of the employed person.

GOAL:

Establishing an equally encouraging environment for the development of potential and promoting interests, regardless of gender.

MEASURE 5

Deep understanding of the concept of balancing professional and personal life (that is not limited to the wants and needs of mothers).

GOAL:

Deepening the understanding of the meaning of gender equality.

MEASURE 6

Organizing work in sexually mixed teams.

GOAL:

Preventing discriminatory practices that can reproduce inequality in the workplace.

MEASURES

AND ADVICE FOR BALANCING PROFESSIONAL AND PRIVATE LIFE:

AT HOME

Clear boundaries, setting priorities, equal partnership, active fatherhood...

ON THE FARM

Encouraging active fatherhood, integrating women into the labor market, reduced working hours...

IN WORK ORGANIZATIONS

Realistic goals, planning breaks, discussions about the importance of work-life balance...

tera

EDUCATIONAL / AWARENESS-RAISING MODULES

did you know?

The issue of balancing professional and personal life has only become apparent after the entry of women into the workforce, as women became faced with a double burden – in addition to unpaid domestic work, they now also performed paid work outside the home.

The ‘right to disconnect’ means employees can stop receiving work emails, calls and messages outside of work hours. This makes it easier to separate work and personal life, which is particularly important now that more people are working from home. France introduced the first law like this in Europe and now other countries, like Italy, Spain and Belgium, have done the same.

Slovenia introduced the option of dividing parental leave between parents in 1976, making it the second country in Europe to do so, after Sweden which enabled it two years earlier. In addition, Slovenia was the first country to introduce one-year parental leave in 1986 and also the first to provide 100% salary compensation for this leave.

Employees who have established a balance between their professional and personal lives are better equipped to cope with stress (and are exposed to it less), feel better at work, and are absent less often. They can manage their time more effectively and are therefore more productive. Suitable opportunities for reconciling work and personal life bring numerous benefits, not only for employees but also for organizations: morale and commitment to companies are elevated, absenteeism is reduced, and employee productivity is increased.

The COVID-19 epidemic has pushed efforts for gender equality several decades into the future. Women have taken on an even larger share of the burdens caused by the fact that families have been forced to stay at home during the epidemic. Because women usually receive lower pay than men and work in more unstable forms of employment, they have been more likely to leave the labor market (also due to the huge amount of care work resulting from the closure of many public services and facilities). Finally, and no less importantly, the pandemic has also caused a rise in violence against women, who have been left without their usual support networks and trapped indoors with their abusers.

According to the Eurobarometer data (Work-life balance, 2018), slightly less than eight out of ten Europeans (78%) say they are very or fairly satisfied with their work-life balance, but only about a quarter (28%) are very satisfied. Across the EU, women are, not surprisingly, slightly less satisfied than men with balancing their work and private life.

tera

on the field

TERA project activities are also taking place in your immediate vicinity!

You can join us in workshops conducted by mentor pairs composed of representatives from project partners. The workshops cover topics prepared as part of the TERA educational / awareness-raising program. Visit us in both participating regions (Posavje and Pomurje), where meetings take place in the form of multi-stakeholder committees.

Representatives from public services, organizations, and other interested parties gather there to discuss possible measures for facilitating the work-life balance of individuals in rural areas.

8

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and challenges of balancing professional and personal life in rural areas?

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Stajnko, M. (2016). Coordinating the professional and private life of female farmers
Keywords: division of labor, female farmers, financial independence, women's overwork, balancing professional and private life
Read more
Muhič, A. (2012). Domestic violence - experiences and attitudes of rural women in Slovenia (thesis).
Keywords: Rural violence, tolerance for violence, age, education, violence against women. The message discusses the issue of rural violence, tolerance towards it, and how age and education play a role in this. It also highlights the problem of violence against women.
Read more
Črnčič, L. (2016). Women in rural households in Slovenia (Undergraduate thesis)
Key words: job evaluation, division of labor, presentation of rural women in literature, women's work (household chores, education), men's work (machinery).
Read more
Ferlinc Guzej, I. (2010). "Women Farmers from Slovenian Hillsides: Then and Now" (Master's thesis).
Keywords: individualization, exclusion from public life, division of labor, gender expectations, male-centrism.
Read more
Kovšca Gruden, A. (2010) Position of farm wives in the Upper Vipava Valley (Graduation Thesis)
Keywords: rural violence, tolerance towards equality in rural areas, social security, financial independence, traditional division of labor, infrastructural barriers.
Read more
Muršec, K. (2018). Analysis of the socio-economic status of women on farms in Podravje (Master's thesis)
Keywords: farm management, decision making, economic dependency of women in rural areas, social security of rural women, social engagement of female farmers.
Read more
Hribar, A. (2007). Everyday life of rural women in Slovenia (graduate thesis).
Keywords: Traditional norms, ways and options of decision-making, financial independence, social security, and division of labor.
Read more
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MORE RESOURCES

MENTAL HEALTH

The impact of balancing professional and private life on MENTAL HEALTH.

LEGISLATION AND PUBLIC POLICY

Existing public policies and legislation that impact the possibilities of balancing professional and personal life:

HELP WITH REPORTING VIOLENCE

Seeking assistance for reporting and preventing gender-based violence:

Gender equality means equal rights, equal opportunities, equal responsibilities and equal treatment for men and women, in public and private life. It is important to stress that equality does not mean or pursue sameness, but only equality in rights, responsibilities and opportunities, whether we are born male or female. Gender equality should not be seen as a women’s issue alone, as it is equally relevant to men, their rights and opportunities. Gender equality can also be seen as a prerequisite for democracy and an important indicator of sustainable development.

De jure gender equality is a narrower concept than gender equality, and is primarily defined as the legally guaranteed equality of men and women, which does not necessarily mean that in practice the man and women can live equally, enjoy equal opportunities and receive equal treatment.

Equal sharing of domestic responsibilities means that women and men share all tasks and responsibilities that fall within the scope of domestic work. Equal sharing is very important as it is a condition leading to gender equality.

Gender roles are the social norms that are considered appropriate, desirable and expected for members of a particular gender. Gender roles are often associated with traditional understandings of gender, particularly those related to domestic work or access to finance and power. On the other hand, gender norms can change over time.

Gender norms are broader (social) expectations and standards that we internalise from a very early age in childhood, which guide us towards presumed appropriate behaviour and attitudes for men and women. Gender norms also have a major influence on gender stereotyping.

Work-life balance implies finding a balance between work and the lifestyle we have chosen (family, leisure, etc.). In order to promote gender equality and equal opportunities, it is essential to have a work-life balance that does not lead to a double or triple burden for women.

Hegemonic masculinity refers to all cultural norms that associate masculinity with power, success and economic achievement. Hegemonic masculinity is sometimes also referred to as toxic masculinity, because it refers to harmful patterns of masculinity that have a negative impact on both men and women, and it can even be referred to as the price of masculinity, which brings men many problems (including health) and causes harm.

Active fatherhood implies the equal involvement of men in the caring responsibilities of childcare and upbringing, and goes beyond the traditional stereotypical role of the man as the one who cares for children by working and supporting them financially outside the home. Instead, active fatherhood implies that fathers should also provide equal emotional support to their children.

According to the international definition adopted by the Council of Europe in a document recommended by the Committee of Ministers, sexism can be described as the expression of “historically unequal power relations” between men and women, leading to discrimination and preventing the full emancipation or advancement of women in society.

The gendered division of labour assumes that women and men do different jobs, and that the division is closely linked to their gender. In practice, this means that women do certain jobs because they are women, and at the same time this is the reason why men do not do the same jobs.

Care work provides care to those who need it: children, the sick, the elderly. Typically, because of traditional gender roles and the division of labour, it is mainly women who are in charge of care work.

The democratic deficit assumes the impact that a lower representation of women (and therefore a higher representation of men) has on the legitimacy of democracy.

Unpaid work implies the performance of very important work (socially useful and necessary – for example, care work and domestic work) for which no remuneration is provided. Unpaid work is unequally distributed between the sexes – women do a much higher amount of this type of work than men.

This master’s thesis explores the possibilities and advancements in reconciling work and personal life in the village of Cven. The author emphasizes the importance of balancing work and personal life as one of the major factors for equal division of labor between genders. Special attention is given to the significance of women’s economic independence through supplementary activities or employment outside the family. The work also highlights the fact that women are still subject to the wishes or needs of the family when it comes to using their income. Due to the double burden of paid and unpaid work (women mostly perform large amounts of unpaid labor), they are heavily burdened, tired, stressed, and unable to use their vacation time.

The theoretical part of the thesis highlights some of the specific features of violence against rural women (strong dependence on partners; low self-esteem; lower level of education; strong attachment to the environment; geographical distance to support systems and services; and the existence of traditional gender roles), while the empirical part provides an assessment of exposure to domestic violence. The author concludes that women (regardless of education and age) are more likely to be exposed to harshness, indignation, unfriendliness and quick anger, with younger women in the study sample tolerating violence to a greater extent than older women. 

The thesis presents the traditional perception of rural women, with a special emphasis on the ways they are represented in Slovenian literature, and the theoretical part of the thesis is based on the changes that have taken place, especially in the field of work (division of labour, valuation of work). In the empirical part, the thesis examines the presence and persistence of traditional divisions of labour – it is found that such patterns of division of labour are still very much present, as women are the ones who do most of the work related to caring for the home and family (housework, education), while men do the work related to machinery.

This master thesis analyses the consequences of the individualisation process for rural women, providing a comparative insight into the socio-economic situation and role of rural women in the 20th century and today. The author concludes that time has brought a certain improvement in the quality of life of rural women, but that the progress in the social life of women has not been satisfactory. Even today, rural women are excluded from public and political life, overburdened with work (the division of labour is largely influenced by gender and related expectations) and economically dependent, which is evidence of the persistence of androcentrism in the everyday lives of rural women.

The thesis analyses the socio-economic situation of rural women in the Upper Vipava Valley. The empirical part of the analysis is based on a survey conducted on a sample of sixty peasant women (members of the Upper Vipava Peasant Women’s Association), which revealed a number of challenges that stand in the way of achieving equal status for women in rural areas: the low number of women as farm owners; women’s poorer social security; the traditional gender division of labour; the lack of women in public and political life, organising and participation. The author particularly highlights the improvement of infrastructural living conditions as an important element in improving the situation of women in rural areas (facilitating access to services, bringing certain services closer to rural areas).

The master’s thesis deals with the analysis of the social and economic situation of women on farms in the Podravje region. The empirical part of the research is based on the analysis of the answers of fifty women (members and holders of agricultural holdings) who answered a questionnaire. The most important findings of the survey indicated that women holders are more empowered to take decisions than members of agricultural holdings. While only a good third of female farmers consider themselves to be economically independent, on the other hand, there are 22% of all respondents who do not have pension and invalidity insurance.

In the paper, the author highlights some aspects of rurality that explain the dominant discourse used both by victims of violence and by institutions and services that come into contact with victims or deal with violence (in rural settings). Reporting and prevention of violence in rural areas is made more difficult by living in environments where everyone knows everyone, which has an impact on both unreliable reporting of experienced or observed violence and high tolerance of violence. The author also pays special attention to support services, which in these settings usually (personally) know both the perpetrator and the victim, which may affect their ability to identify violence. 


SOURCE: Domestic violence in settings where everyone knows everyone. Social Work, Vol. 55, Issue 1/2, pp. 39-53.

 

The thesis analyses the changes in the social and physical environment that affect the experiences and challenges faced by rural women, with a particular focus on the process of individualisation, which can also be understood as a disrupter of traditional norms for individuals. The empirical part consists of an analysis of the answers given by rural women from Brežice, with a particular focus on the following issues: despite their great contribution and the large amount of work they do, women are without (their own) income and their social security is threatened. The most significant constraint to individualisation is the way in which decisions are taken, with greater decision-making power being exercised by the younger generation of women, who are also better educated. 

Enakost spolov označuje enake pravice, enake možnosti, enake odgovornosti in enako obravnavo moških in žensk, v javnem in zasebnem življenju. Pomembno je poudariti, da enakost ne pomeni niti ne zasleduje istosti, gre zgolj za enakost v pravicah, odgovornostih in možnostih, ne glede na to ali se rodimo kot moški ali kot ženske. Enakosti spolov ne smemo razumeti kot izključno ženskega vprašanja, saj na enakovreden način zadeva tudi moške, njihove pravice in možnosti. Enakost spolov lahko razumemo tudi kot predpogoj demokracije in pomemben pokazatelj trajnostnega razvoja.

Enakopravnost spolov je ožji pojem od enakosti spolov, opredeljuje pa predvsem pravno zagotovljeno enakost moških in žensk, ki pa še ne pomeni da lahko spoli tudi v praksi živijo enako, so deležni enakih možnosti in enake obravnave. 

Enaka delitev gospodinjskih obveznosti pomeni, da si tako ženske kot moški delijo vse naloge in zadolžitve, ki sodijo v okvir gospodinjskega dela. Enaka delitev je zelo pomembna, saj predstavlja pogoj ki vodi k enakosti spolov.

Spolne vloge predstavljajo družbene norme, ki veljajo kot primerne, zaželene in pričakovane za pripadnike oziroma pripadnice točno določenega spola. Pri spolnih vlogah lahko pogosto opazimo prisotnost tradicionalnega razumevanja vloge spolov, ki so povezane zlasti z gospodinjskim delom ali dostopom do financ in moči po drugi strani. Spolne norme se lahko sčasoma spreminjajo. 

Usklajevanje poklicnega in zasebnega življenja predvideva iskanje ravnovesja med delom in življenjskim stilom, ki smo si ga izbrali (družina, prosti čas, …). Za uveljavljanje enakosti spolov in enakih možnosti obeh spolov je nujno usklajevanje poklicnega in zasebnega življenja, ki ne vodi v dvojno ali trojno obremenjenost žensk.

S hegemono moškostjo označujemo vse kulturne norme, ki moškost povezujejo z močjo, uspehom in ekonomskimi dosežki. Včasih se hegemona moškost naslavlja tudi kot toksična moškost, saj gre za škodljive vzorce moškosti, ki imajo negativen vpliva na moške in na ženske, govorimo lahko celo o ceni moškosti, ki prinaša moškim številne (tudi zdravstvene) težave in povzroča škodo.

Aktivno očetovstvo predvideva enakovredno vključenost moških v skrbstvene obveznosti povezane z nego in vzgojo otroka in pomeni preseganje tradicionalne stereotipne vloge moškega, kot tistega, ki je za otroke skrbel z udejanjanjem zunaj doma – z delom in finančno podporo. Namesto tega aktivno očetovstvo predvideva enakovredno nudenje čustvene opore otrokom tudi s strani očetov. 

Po  mednarodni definiciji, ki jo je po priporočilu odbora ministrov v dokumentu sprejel Svet Evrope, lahko seksizem označimo kot izraz “zgodovinsko neenakih razmerij moči” med moškimi in ženskami, kar vodi v diskriminacijo in preprečuje polno emancipacijo oziroma napredek žensk v družbi.

Spolna delitev dela predpostavlja, da ženske in moški opravljajo različna dela, pri čemer je delitev tesno povezana z njihovim spolom. V praksi to pomeni, da ženske opravljajo določena dela, zato ker so ženske in obenem to predstavlja razlog zakaj moških teh istih del ne opravljajo.

Skrbstveno delo je povezano z nudenjem nege in skrbi tistim, ki jo potrebujejo: otrokom, bolnim, starejšim. Navadno, zaradi tradicionalnih spolnih vlog in delitve dela so za skrbstveno delo zadolžene predvsem ženske.

Demokratični primanjkljaj predvideva vpliv, ki ga ima manjša zastopanost žensk (in s tem posledično višja zastopanost moških) na legitimnost demokracije. 

Neplačano delo predvideva opravljanje zelo pomembnega dela (družbeno koristnega in nujnega – na primer skrbstvenega in gospodinjskega dela), za katerega pa ni predvidenega nobenega plačila. Neplačano delo je neenakomerno razporejeno med spoloma – ženske opravijo veliko večjo količino tovrstnega dela kot moški.