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|Walking the tightrope : women's work choices and time allocation strategies surrounding childbirth in cebu, philippines|
|Summary||The birth of a child often results in changes in the manner in which women balance their multiple responsibilities. These changes are critical to the health and well-being of women and their families in the context of poverty. This study addresses women's work choices and time allocation strategies in the period surrounding childbirth, using both multivariate and qualitative techniques to study a random sample of 3327 women and select in-depth interviews from the Cebu Longitudinal Health and Nutrition Study.|
Conventional definitions of work choice are not able to capture many of the dimensions of women's work. This study goes beyond these definitions of work. It integrates qualitative data and prior theoretical perspectives to arrive at a definition of work that encompasses compatibility of market work with childcare and underlying job characteristics. This definition is validated by Hausman tests.
Four major groups of explanatory variables are hypothesized to influence work choice: individual human capital, family finances, the costs of labor force participation and labor market characteristics. All four are significant predictors of work. Among workers, low education and higher costs of childcare and transportation predict work at home rather than outside the home. Among home-based workers, having financial capital predicts self-employment rather than piece-rate work.
This study shows that each of the definitions used to characterize women's work (labor force participation, location of work, sector of work) capture different dimensions of work choice. Therefore the size,direction and significance of several coefficients change depending upon the definition of work. This is true for education, predicted wage rates and the costs of labor force participation. In contrast, experience, the presence of young children and the level of household per capita income have consistent effects, regardless of the definition of work choice.
Work sector models are used to interpret women's time allocation. The results show that time allocated to domestic work and childcare is well predicted by individual level variables, unlike time spent on market work, particularly among piece-rate and wage workers. These findings highlight the importance of job-related characteristics, and suggest that policy and research should be directed to these issues.
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