Moral dilemmas, moral strategies, and the transformation of gender: Lessons from two generations of work and family change

Kathleen Gerson

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Modern societies have reconciled the dilemma between self-interest and caring for others by dividing women and men into different moral categories. Women have been expected to seek personal development by caring for others, while men care for others by sharing the rewards of their independent work achievements. Changes in work and family life have undermined this framework but have failed to offer a clear avenue for creating new resolutions. Instead, contradictory social changes have produced new moral dilemmas. Women must now seek economic self-sufficiency even as they continue to bear responsibility for the care of others. Men can reject the obligation to provide for others, but they face new pressures to become more involved fathers and partners. Facing these dilemmas, young women and men must develop innovative moral strategies to renegotiate work-family conflicts and transform traditional views of gender, but persisting institutional obstacles thwart their emerging aspirations to balance personal autonomy with caring for others. To overcome these obstacles, we need to create more humane, less gendered theoretical and social frameworks for understanding and apportioning moral obligation.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)8-28
    Number of pages21
    JournalGender and Society
    Volume16
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Feb 2002

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Gender Studies
    • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
    • Sociology and Political Science

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