, Volume 29, Issue 4, pp 289-292

Editorial: family, work and well-being over the life course

This is an excerpt from the content

In the last few decades of the twentieth century major changes occurred in work and family life in Australia. Women entered the work force at unprecedented rates. This change was particularly marked for wives and mothers, who increasingly added paid work to their family responsibilities (Baxter 2002). Men’s average employment hours and real wages declined (van Wanrooy et al. 2007). Households came to depend on women’s earnings as well as on men’s, and the dual-earner household became a normative family form. Concurrently, social attitudes became more liberal (Bittman and Pixley 1997), rates of marriage declined (de Vaus 2004), the number of couples divorcing increased (Hewitt et al. 2005), the number of couples living together before or instead of marriage rose dramatically (de Vaus 2004), young women’s educational attainment outstripped young men’s (Craig et al. 2010), women delayed childbearing and couples had smaller families (McDonald 2000).

Arguably, these changes meant greater per