Coping with Work and Family Role Conflict: Career Counselling Considerations for Women

  • Charles P. Chen

The last several decades have seen a rapid increase of female workers joining the world of work. Women comprise a significant portion of the workforce in the North American society today. In Canada, more than 78% of Canadian women between the age of 25 and 54 are workers in the labour market (Statistics Canada, 2000). In 2001, 71% of women with partners and children under age 16 living at home were employed, as compared with only 38.4 in 1976 (Statistics Canada, 2002). This number has further increased to 73% in 2006 (Statistics Canada, 2007). Parallel to this trend, the proportion of Canadian dual-working families has also increased in an astounding rate. For example, a survey conducted in 1997 indicated that both parents were engaged in paid work in 62% of families with children under the age of 16, while the corresponding figure for 1976 was only 36% (Johnson, Lero, & Rooney, 2001). According to a more recent report by Statistics Canada (2006), the number of dual-working families has doubled since 1967. Similarly, women were expected to represent about 48% of the workforce by 2005 in the United States (Wentling, 1998).

This chapter attempts to elaborate on the issue of role conflict in women’s lifecareer development experience. More specifically, it intends to address the interaction between women’s work and family roles within the context of a traditional dual-working family, that is, a family composed of female and male partners who work for pay outside home, while having shared childcare and other household responsibilities. The term “dual-working” is intended for general usage, and it interchanges with the meaning of terms such as “dual-career” or “dual-earner” whenever appropriate. With this goal in mind, the chapter will first examine some of the key aspects of the role conflict, focusing particularly on a few interrelated factors that cause the role conflict to occur. Based on a better understanding of these factors, the chapter will then examine and propose several career counselling considerations that may be pertinent in helping women clients cope more effectively with work and family role conflict.


Family Life Career Development Role Conflict Family Role Career Counselling 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charles P. Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TorontoCanada

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