Work-Family Conflict

Work-family conflict is defined as the conflict between the mutually incompatible roles of work and family (Greenhaus & Beutell, 1985). In the work context, this conflict compromises professional performance, as well as affects the commitment and satisfaction with work and the organization/company (Kalliath e Kalliath, 2013; McElwain, Korabik, & Rosin, 2005). In family terms, the consequences are mainly at the level of decreased satisfaction in couple and family relationships, the projection of tension to various family members, and the increase in stress and fatigue that are associated with a worse performance of family roles (Gao et al., 2013).

It is the traditional sexual division of labour that underlies this difference between men and women, which results in occupational segregation, leaving women with less time or more effort for paid work and hinders their career progression, as well as burden them with family chores (Kergoat, 1996). In Portugal, a study by Heloísa Perista et al. (2016) revealed that the average daily number of hours of paid work for men is higher than for women (09h02m vs. 08h35m). Concerning unpaid work (at home), women are the most disadvantaged in terms of average daily hours (04h23m vs 02h38m), particularly regarding the average time with care work for someone (03h14m vs 02h19m), and household chores (3h06m vs 01h54m).

Female employment rate in Portugal is high (89.1% in 2019), while domestic and family work has always been and still is done almost exclusively by women (Casaca, 2012; Perista, 2002), which is reflected in situations of work-family conflict, and quantitative and qualitative gender differences in time use (Kergoat, 1996; Perista, 2000). The National Survey on the Use of Time of Men and Women in Portugal (Perista et al., 2016) revealed that there are more women than men divided and overloaded with the management of work-family spheres, namely in relation to concerns about paid work when they are not working (46.8% vs 40.6%), in the perception that work makes it difficult to devote the time they would like to their family (51.4% vs 43.8%), in the feeling of tiredness after work to do some of the necessary household tasks (63.4% vs 46.6%), and feeling tired after work to enjoy their personal life (64.2% vs 52.4%). The same happens at the level of mischief of family life into professional life: in the workplace, they think about the domestic tasks they have to do (50.5% vs 17.1%); and making phone calls of a family nature, dealing with family matters and/or organizing daily life at work (52.7% vs 45.4%). The discussion that involves the relationship between the two spheres (work and family) is central and very broad, because it is mainly in them that gender inequalities are expressed and makes it conflicting for women to equate the demands of both (Araújo et al., 2005).