A number of studies have analyzed variation in people’s attitudes towards women’s labor market participation and the division of labor among men and women in the Western world. Generally, citizens in Western countries show increasing support over time for women’s labor market participation, with some differences of opinion related to age, gender, education, etc. Cross-national studies also document differences across nations, which partly can be related to differences in their welfare states. A common finding is also that people’s attitudes to the domestic division of labor between men and women seem to be more traditional than the attitudes towards women’s employment, but again, there are cross-national differences.
For researchers of gender role and women employment values, South-East European countries, such as Croatia, are interesting in many ways. During the 1990s there was a major change in their political and economic systems, from the former federative socialist republic of Yugoslavia to present-day independent states of Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The dissolution of Yugoslavia, accompanied by the wars in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (and later by systematic violence in Kosovo), brought new emphasis on nationalism and re-traditionalization, mostly in the form of resurgence of religion. In Croatia, religiosity dramatically increased during the war (1991-1995). Such a turn toward the sacred is not unusual consequence of war and related destruction (Sekulic, Hodson, Massey 2002). In addition, under the nationalist government that was highly supported by Catholic Church (Partos 1997), being Croat often equaled with being Catholic. In that sense Croatia, as most ex-Yugoslav societies, differs from other post-communist societies of Eastern Europe, in spite of the fact that they all share the same experience of the post-communist transformation, and the social costs associated with this transition (Dragicevic, 2003)
Unemployment dramatically increased in the 1990s. Official data show a 3.5 fold increase in unemployment in Croatia during the 1990-1999 period (Lokin, 2000:220) and a high percentage of unemployed were women. In 1997 women constituted 52.7 percent of the unemployed (Bejakovic, 2005). Also, the level of job security decreased significantly, and women appear to be particularly vulnerable to the macroeconomic and social changes brought about by the transition, since the legal provisions securing the job during maternity leave in many cases became illusory (Brunnbauer, 2000). Together with political attempts at re-traditionalization of the family institution, the market-oriented transition, which resulted in loss of security and decreasing quality of public services, may have had an impact on people’s gender attitudes and values. These processes might have strengthened the old gender role models assigning men to the public life of work and politics and women to the private life of housework and motherhood (Bracewell, 1996).
Attitudes toward women’s employment and gendered division of labor. How important is family socialization in that respect? There are a number of studies, many North American, of the effects of mother’s employment on their children and the attitudes their children later develop to gender roles and maternal employment (see Willetts-Bloom 1994 for an overview). The findings of this research are however, ambiguous: Whereas some studies find positive effects of maternal employment on their children’s attitudes, in particular for the daughters, so that the daughters of working women also wants to work, other studies find no significant results, and some report conflicting results. Many of these studies were undertaken in the 1970s and 1980s, when married women’s increasing employment prompted raising concerns that mother’s employment would have negative effects on their children.
REVIEW OF LITERATURE
This chapter reviews some of the studies with working women. Many studies have concentrated on the status of women in an unorganized and organized sector. The present review limits itself to status of women in organized sector, which are relevant to the study.
A review of literature was added to this study by referring to different journal and studies conducted by different individuals to show relevance to the study.
A cross-national study of 23 countries, including several eastern European countries, concluded that there are three clusters of countries, which represent three distinct patterns of attitudes towards women’s employment: the work-oriented countries, the family accommodating countries and the motherhood centered countries (Treas and Widmer 2000). The Eastern European countries that were included (Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, Bulgaria, and the Czech Republic) were grouped together with Spain and Ireland in the motherhood-centered cluster. In these countries, “comparatively strong support for mother’s full-time employment is combined with even stronger preferences that women with children stay at home” (Treas and Widmer 2000:1425). To a certain extent, this apparent ambivalence/contradiction between liberal attitudes toward women’s employment and traditional attitudes toward mothers as the primary care givers can also be found in other countries. For instance, the Scandinavian countries have a high level of female employment, including a high level of labor market participation also among mother’s of young children, yet the attitudes towards the domestic division of labor are still surprisingly traditional (Sundstrom 2000:202).
Henley (1979) stated that the feminine stereotype depicts women as being more concerned than men about their bodies, their clothing, and their appearance in general; as is often the case, there is both truth and reason to the stereotype. Women are subject to a great deal more observation than men; their figures and clothing; their attractiveness is the criteria by which they most often are judged. Not surprisingly, then women are more conscious than men of their visibility. This difference translates into both a power and a sex difference.
Rosen and Jerdee (1979) in their study stated that women were seen less favourably in terms of the knowledge, aptitudes, skills, motivation, interests, temperament, and work habits that are demanded in most managerial roles.
Modernization is a concept in the sphere of social sciences that refers to process in which society goes through industrialization, urbanization and other social changes that completely transforms the lives of individuals. The concept of modernization comes from a view of societies as having a standardevolutionarypattern, as described in thesocial evolutionismtheories. According to this each society would evolve inexorably from barbarism to ever greater levels of development and civilization. The more modern states would be wealthier and more powerful, and their citizens freer and having a higher standard of living. This was the standard view in the social sciences for many decades with its foremost advocate beingTalcott Parsons. This theory stressed the importance of societies being open to change and saw reactionary forces as restricting development. Maintaining tradition for tradition’s sake was thought to be harmful to progress and development. This approach has been heavily criticized, mainly because it conflated modernization withWesternization. In this model, the modernization of a society required the destruction of the indigenouscultureand its replacement by a more Westernized one. Technically modernity simply refers to the present, and any society still in existence is therefore modern. Proponents of modernization typically view only Western society as being truly modern arguing that others are primitive or unevolved by comparison. This view sees unmodernized societies as inferior even if they have the same standard of living as western societies. Opponents of this view argue that modernity is independent of culture and can be adapted to any society. Japan is cited as an example by both sides. Some see it as proof that a thoroughly modern way of life can exist in a non-western society. Others argue thatJapanhas become distinctly more western as a result of its modernization. In addition, this view is accused of being Eurocentric, as modernization began in Europe and has long been regarded as reaching its most advanced stage in Europe (by Europeans), and in Europe overseas (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc). According to the Social theorist Peter Wagner (Social theorist), modernization can be seen as processes, and as offensives. The former view is commonly projected by politicians and the media, and suggests that it is developments, such as new data technology or dated laws, which make modernization necessary or preferable. This view makes critique of modernization difficult, since it implies that it is these developments which control the limits of human interaction, and not vice versa. The latter view of modernization as offensives argues that both the developments and the altered opportunities made available by these developments, are shaped and controlled by human agents. The view of modernization as offensives therefore sees it as a product of human planning and action, an active process capable of being both changed and criticized. Modernization is most likely one of the most influential happenings in society.