New Article: Harel-Shalev & Daphna-Tekoah, Analysing Israeli Female Combatants’ Experiences

Harel-Shalev, Ayelet, and Shir Daphna-Tekoah. “Gendering Conflict Analysis: Analysing Israeli Female Combatants’ Experiences.” In Female Combatants in Conflict and Peace. Challenging Gender in Violence and Post-Conflict Reintegration (ed. Seema Shekhawat; Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015): 69-83.

 
9781137516558
 

Abstract

Catharine MacKinnon, in her oft-cited article, portrays an imaginary heavenly encounter between a female combat soldier and a feminist activist — … ‘a dialogue between women in the after-life: The feminist says to the [female] soldier, “we fought for your equality.” The soldier says to the feminist, “oh, no, we fought for your equality”…’ In their dialogue, both fight for acknowledgement of their relative contribution to promoting women in society. As Barak-Erez pointed out, “military service has traditionally been considered one of the most distinctive signs of full citizenship, and the exclusion of women from military service has been inseparable from their lower civic status”. Nevertheless, women’s struggle for equal participation in the military and for equality is often criticized. Scholars have indicated that this process has many negative side effects, including reinforcing militarism, encouraging the militarization of women’s lives and even legitimizing the use of force.

 

 

 

New Article: Benzion et al, Factors Affecting Public Support for the Release of a Captive Soldier

Benzion, Uri, Assaf Gal, Shosh Shahrabani, and Eran Zaidise. “‘The Price of Freedom’ – Factors Affecting Public Support for the Release of a Captive Soldier: The Case of Gilad Shalit.” Economics Bulletin 35.4 (2015): 2184-96.

 

URL: http://www.accessecon.com/Pubs/EB/2015/Volume35/EB-15-V35-I4-P221.pdf (PDF)

 

Abstract

This study examines the public support determinants for the release of terrorists in exchange for a single captive soldier. A sample of 751 Israelis were presented a questionnaire, in which the exchange price was manipulated into two versions: one in which no specific prices were mentioned, and another which presented a context-specific prisoner exchange. The results show that respondents who answered the non-specific version displayed greater support than those presented with specific details. Additionally, we found that soldiers tended to support the exchange more than civilians, and women showed greater support as compared to men. Our findings provide considerable support for the effect of framing and provide further evidence that decision-makers as well as media experts can guide public opinion.

 

 

New Article: Oplatka, Research on School Principals in Israel

Oplatka, Izhar. “Israel: Research on School Principals in Israel, Varied Topics and Limited Scope.” In A Decade of Research on School Principals. Cases from 24 Countries (ed. Helene Arlestig, Christopher Day, and Olof Johansson; Cham: Springer, 2016): 403-20.

 
9783319230269
 

Abstract

This paper reviews the research on principalship in the Israeli educational system conducted by Israeli researchers since 2000 till 2013 (53 works) and sheds light on varied aspects of this managerial career. The major conclusion arising from this review refers to the varied, inchoate, diverse, and fragmented nature of the research on principalship in Israel, stemming, at least in part, from the very small number of researchers in the field of educational administration in this country. Thus, the research into principalship in Israel involves activities in a loosely connected array of sites of inquiry rather than a single or even coherent field of study along the lines of problem foci and clear scholarly directions that continue to exist for a long time. In fact, the research covers a multitude of ideas and area (e.g., the principal’s career and leadership style, the impact of reforms upon principal’s role, the skills of principals, the gender and management) representing considerable different views among various groups of researchers within the profession. In other words, this research lacks a unified, cumulative knowledge base, leaving us with only partial understanding of principalship in Israel. The practical contribution of this research is, therefore, limited. Methodologically, the ratio of quantitative and qualitative methodologies used by the Israeli researchers is almost equal, with very few works using triangulated research design. Finally, new Arab researchers in Israel have begun to explore the particular lives and career of Arab male and female principals in the Arab educational system in Israel and exposed interesting viewpoints about educational leadership in traditional societies.

 

 

New Article: Lahav, What Do Secular-Believer Women in Israel Believe in?

Lahav, Hagar. “What Do Secular-Believer Women in Israel Believe in?” Journal of Contemporary Religion 31.1 (2016): 17-34.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13537903.2016.1109866

 

Extract

Secular-believers, who constitute about 25% of Israeli Jews, are self-identified secular people who believe in some kind of divinity. Based on in-depth interviews with secular-believer women, this study aims to reveal their theological assumptions and claims. It examines metaphors and images participants used to relate to the divine as well as the theological categories they emphasized. The study uncovers the pluralistic nature of secular-believers’ beliefs and the common tendency to address faith-related content in a positive light.

 

 

 

New Article: Kulik et al, Work–Family Role Conflict and Well-Being Among Women and Men

Kulik, Liat, Sagit Shilo-Levin, and Gabriel Liberman. “Work–Family Role Conflict and Well-Being Among Women and Men.” Journal of Career Assessment (early view; online first).

 
URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1069072715616067
 
Abstract

The main goal of the present study was to examine gender differences in the variables that explain the experience of role conflict and well-being among Jewish working mothers versus working fathers in Israel (n = 611). The unique contribution of the study lies in its integrative approach to examining the experience of two types of role conflict: work interferes with family (WIF) and family interferes with work (FIW). The explanatory variables included sense of overload, perceived social support, and gender role ideology. The findings revealed that for women, both FIW and WIF conflict correlated negatively with well-being, whereas for men, a negative correlation with well-being was found only in the case of FIW conflict. Contrary to expectations, social support contributed more to mitigating negative affect among men than among women. On the whole, the findings highlight the changes that men have experienced in the work–family system.

 

 

 

New Article: Mosco, Noga & Atzaba-Poria, Socialization Goals of Mothers and Fathers From the Bedouin Society of the Negev

Mosco, Noga, and Naama Atzaba-Poria. “In Search of ‘the Bedouin Adaptive Adult’. Socialization Goals of Mothers and Fathers From the Bedouin Society of the Negev.” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0022022115610632

 

Abstract

The Bedouins of the Negev are a unique minority group living in southern Israel. They are known to be a formerly nomadic society characterized by tribal collectivism. The purpose of this study was to improve the understanding of the broad context in which parenting and child development take place in Bedouin society by exploring the images Bedouin parents have of the adults they wish their children to become (the adaptive adult). We explored the images of the adaptive adult as expressed by parents’ ratings of individualistic and collectivistic socialization goals (SGs), while also examining the eco-cultural factors that may be related to these images. Specifically, we examined the relations between SG preferences and parental acculturation attitude, parental education, and child gender. Participants included 65 Bedouin mothers and 30 Bedouin fathers. Parents completed the Acculturation Questionnaire and the Socialization Goals Rating Task. Results indicated that mothers who had higher education and those who had higher levels of contact and participation in Israeli Jewish culture preferred more individualistic SGs over collectivistic SGs for their children. Furthermore, acculturation level was a stronger predictor of maternal SGs than level of education. Contrary to mothers, fathers’ SG preferences were found to be related only to their level of education and not to their acculturation levels. Finally, both mothers and fathers preferred individualistic SGs for their sons and collectivistic SGs for their daughters. The links between SG preferences and the factors of parental acculturation, parental education, and child gender are discussed, and implications are proposed.

 

 

New Article: Gagne et al, Family Expectations of Future Child Temperament

Gagne, Jeffrey R., Jerry C. Prater, Lior Abramson, David Mankuta, and Ariel Knafo-Noam. “An Israeli Study of Family Expectations of Future Child Temperament.” Family Science (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19424620.2015.1076494

 

Abstract

Early emerging child temperament forms the basis for adult personality and has a multitude of developmental implications. Studies have shown that some aspects of temperament can be observed prenatally, and prenatal parent ratings predict postnatal child temperament, thereby influencing future family dynamics. Little research has examined prenatal mother–father agreement on predictions of temperament, or patterns of cross-dimension associations before birth. Parental expectations of their future child’s temperament were investigated in a sample of pregnant Israeli women and their partners. Three modified temperament questionnaires were used to investigate mother–father agreement and associations between temperament dimensions. There were few significant mean differences between mothers’ and fathers’ expectations of child temperament. Parent agreement within temperament dimensions, and associations across dimensions were consistent with the postnatal literature. Findings indicate that parent impressions of child temperament are partially formed before birth, and may represent a shared hope or a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ in families.

 

 

New Article: Slone and Mayer, Gender Differences in Mental Health Consequences of Exposure to Political Violence

Slone, Michelle, and Yael Mayer. “Gender Differences in Mental Health Consequences of Exposure to Political Violence among Israeli Adolescents.” Children and Youth Services Review 58 (2015): 170-178.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2015.09.013

 

Abstract

This study examined the role played by gender differences in the relation between political violence exposure and mental health during adolescence. Understanding these differences is particularly pertinent during the period of adolescence characterized as it is by processes of identity formation and gender role consolidation. Participants were 154 high school students recruited from two high schools in central Israel (78 males, 76 females; average age 16.54), who completed the Political Life Events Scale for measurement of political violence exposure, the Brief Symptom Inventory-18 for assessment of psychological symptoms and disorders, a risk-taking behavior scale, and the Posttraumatic Stress Symptom Scale — Interview (PSS-I) for assessment of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Results reflected high levels on many psychological indicators. The dose–response hypothesis was partially confirmed with adolescents’ higher reported political violence exposure related only to higher levels of somatization and greater severity of posttraumatic stress symptoms. Contrary to the literature, only a few gender differences emerged and these showed mixed patterns. Females showed higher levels of anxiety than males, and males showed higher levels of risk-taking behavior. Females exposed to low political violence exposure showed significantly less substance abuse than males but those with high exposure reported significantly higher levels of substance abuse, equivalent to those of males. Findings show a complex constellation of gender effects on relations between political violence exposure and different psychopathological outcomes. Findings of this study indicate the necessity for more refined examination of gender differences in psychological processes in reaction to living in conditions of protracted conflict and war.

 

 

Dissertation: Wooten, Gender Integration into the Military

Wooten, Jeff. Gender Integration into the Military: A Meta-Analysis of Norway, Canada, Israel, and the United States, EdD Dissertation, University of New England, 2015.
 
URL: http://dune.une.edu/theses/33/
 
Abstract

Over the past 15 years, the Global War on Terrorism has necessitated an examination of the military’s practices and the way that they meet the complexities of new and different types of war and tactics. Vital to this examination are policies related to the inclusion and deployment of women in combat. Burba stated war is not a setting for social testing, but the American Military must embrace the social subtleties of gender differences in an effort to meet the Armed Services requirement for an ever-changing asymmetrical battlefield. This study compares and contrasts the American current policy divergent to three other countries’ policies that have successfully integrated women into combat: Norway, Canada, and Israel. Through this examination, an opportunity to recognize gaps in training and procedural information that are most important to the successful implementation in the United States is revealed. The scientific data, although supporting the fact that physiological differences exist between men and women, were not supported in the argument that all women should be excluded from combat units. In all case studies, it was found that women who volunteered for combat assignments performed equally as well as their male counterparts without degradation of operational readiness or a lower unity of cohesion. However, I was not surprised that the leaders of the three counties observed that the successful integration of women into combat units is not about changing a culture. It is simply a leadership issue.

 

 

New Article: Koren et al, Disability during Military Service in Israel

Koren, Ela, Yoav S. Bergman, and Michael Katz. “Disability during Military Service in  Israel: Raising Awareness of Gender Differences.” Journal of Gender Studies 24.1 (2015): 117-28.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09589236.2013.820132

 

Abstract

Women in Israel are required by law to serve in the national army. While disabled women veterans constitute about 6% of the total disabled veteran population, their injuries during service are similar to those of men, and include injuries sustained during combat, in training, or in traffic accidents. To date, no attempt has been made to study this unique population. The current research employs the social model of disability and examines gender differences among Israeli Defense Forces veterans who became disabled during their military service, in the areas of mental and physical health, perceived stigma, and social support. Findings show that disabled women veterans report significantly lower social support, lower monthly salaries, and experience more discrimination than their male counterparts. No differences were found in other variables. This research is an important step toward raising the awareness of gender differences, and its findings stress the need for additional studies which will provide further information regarding this distinctive population.

New Article: David and Maoz, Gender Perceptions and Support for Compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

David, Yossi, and Ifat Maoz. “Gender Perceptions and Support for Compromise in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.” Peace and Conflict 21.2 (2015): 295-298.

 

URL: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pac/21/2/295/

 

Abstract

The goal of our study was to explore factors that underlie public support for compromise in protracted, asymmetrical conflict. We introduce a gendering for compromise model in which, in line with previous studies (Maoz & McCauley, 2008), support for compromise is determined by perception of threat from the opponent. However, innovatively, our model also presents perception of the opponent as having stereotypical feminine traits as an important predictor of willingness to compromise in conflict. This model was tested in the context of the asymmetrical, protracted Israeli–Palestinian conflict using representative of Jewish–Israeli public opinion polling data (N = 511). In line with our expectations, the findings indicated that Jewish–Israeli perceptions of Palestinians as threatening and Jewish–Israeli perceptions of Palestinians as having stereotypical feminine traits both made significant contributions to predicting attitudes toward compromise.

New Book: Shoham, Prison Tattoos. A Study of Russian Inmates

Shoham, Efrat. Prison Tattoos. A Study of Russian Inmates in Israel. New York: Springer, 2015.

 
 
9783319158709

 

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction 1
  2. The Inmates Community   5
  3. Tattoos 41
  4. Anthropological Study 59
  5. Typology of Tattoos Among Russian Inmates in Israeli Prisons   63
  6. Tattoos and Gender  83
  7. Criminals’ Tattoos Versus Normative Tattoos 87
  8. Rehabilitation Programs for Russian Inmates in the Israeli Prisons 91
  9. Summary 95

Bibliography 101

Index 107

 
 
 
 
Prof. Efrat Shoham is a senior criminologist in Ashkelon Academic College, Israel. She is the Chairperson of the Israeli Society of Criminology, and the research committee of the Israeli Prisoners Rehabilitation Authority.

New Article: Tarablus et al, Cyber Bullying Among Teenagers in Israel

Tarablus, Tamar, Tali Heiman, and Dorit Olenik-Shemesh. “Cyber Bullying Among Teenagers in Israel: An Examination of Cyber Bullying, Traditional Bullying, and Socioemotional Functioning.” Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma 24.6 (2015): 707-20.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10926771.2015.1049763

 

Abstract
In this study, the relationships between cyber bullying and involvement in traditional bullying, with reference to social support and gender differences, was examined. Social support plays an important role in empowering victims of cyber bullying and has a significant influence on children and teenagers’ well-being. A sample made up of 458 Israeli junior high students (242 female, 216 male) in the age range of 11 to 13 completed 4 questionnaires. Results indicated that there is an overlap between involvement in cyber bullying and involvement in traditional bullying. The findings indicate that girls were more likely to be cyber victims than boys and that boys were more likely to be cyber bullies than girls. Examination of the relationships between gender and social support variables such as friends, family, and others, shows that girls who were cyber victims reported having more support in all 3 types than cyber bullied boys. These findings can serve as a basis for prevention and intervention programs to cope with cyber bullying.

 

 

New Article: Sher-Censor, Gender Differences in Observed Autonomy and Adolescent-Mother Interactions

Sher-Censor, Efrat. “The Challenges of Israeli Adolescent Girls: Gender Differences in Observed Autonomy and Relatedness in Adolescent-Mother Interactions.” Sex Roles 72.3-4 (2015): 150-62.

 
 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11199-015-0445-5

 

Abstract
This study examined gender differences in autonomy and relatedness in adolescent-mother interactions, to evaluate two competing notions. The first, based on social role theory, suggested that girls and their mothers would show lower autonomy and higher relatedness than boys and their mothers. The second, stemming from the psychodynamic perspective, suggested that girls would show higher autonomy than boys, and that girls and their mothers would show lower relatedness than boys and their mothers. Participants were 122 Jewish Israeli mothers and their 16.5 years old adolescents (58.19 % girls) from middle class families residing in northern and central cities in Israel. Dyads were observed during a family disagreement (i.e., a high-conflict condition) and while planning a vacation (i.e., a low-conflict condition). Autonomy and relatedness of each participant in each task were coded using the Individuality and Connectedness Q-sort (Bengston & Grotevant 1999). Our findings indicated that girls displayed higher autonomy than boys across the two conflict conditions. In addition, girls and their mothers showed lower relatedness than boys and their mothers, but only under the high-conflict condition. These results are in line with the notions offered by the psychodynamic perspective. They reveal the unique challenges which Jewish Israeli girls and their mothers may face with respect to autonomy and relatedness, and highlight the importance of assessing autonomy and relatedness under varied conflict conditions.

 
 
 
 

New Article: Peled et al, Normative Beliefs About Cyberaggression in Israeli Youth

Peled, Yehuda, Efrat Pieterse, Mandy B. Medvin, and Linda P. Domanski, “Normative Beliefs About Cyberaggression in Israeli Youth.” In Proceedings of Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference 2015 (ed. D. Slykhuis & G. Marks; Chesapeake, Va.: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education, 2015), 1265-1270.

 

Abstract

We examined student views about cyberaggression among Israeli 5th-10th grades using a self-report, cross-sectional design. Results from 823 Jewish-Israeli and Arab-Israeli youth were analyzed on measures of normative beliefs about cyberaggression, face-to-face aggression, strategy responses to hypothetical cyber scenarios, and amount of electronic usage. Findings indicated that normative beliefs about cyberaggression were associated with traditional aggression, increased with grade, that males had higher normative beliefs than females, and that gender differences in cyberstrategies were supported. Normative beliefs predicted direct cyberaggressive strategies more clearly than indirect strategies, regardless of degree of electronic usage. Findings suggest that such views can influence student choices of behaviors, but that methodologically we need a clearer understanding of the influence of beliefs on indirect strategies.

New Article: Garyn-Tal & Shahrabani, Type of Army Service and Risky Behavior among Young People in Israel

Garyn-Tal, Sharon and Shosh Shahrabani. “Type of Army Service and Decision to Engage in Risky Behavior among Young People in Israel.” Judgment and Decision Making 10.4 (2015): 342-54.

 

URL: http://www.sas.upenn.edu/~baron/journal/15/15320a/jdm15320a.pdf [pdf]

 

Abstract

Previous studies have examined the impact of military service on the decision to engage in risky behavior. Yet most of these studies focused on voluntary recruits, did not distinguish between legal and illegal risky activities and did not compare combat and non-combat soldiers during and after service according to gender. The current study is unique because of the nature of Israeli compulsory army service. It examines the relationship between type of army service and five legal and illegal risky behaviors for three groups: non-combat, combat without fighting experience, and combat with fighting experience. We also examine differences in the propensity for risky behavior between men, most of whom are assigned to combat units due to the army’s needs, and women, who serve in combat units on a voluntary basis only. A questionnaire survey was randomly distributed at train stations and central bus stations in Israel among 413 soldiers and ex-soldiers between the ages of 18-30. The predictor variables include type of service or battle experience, the Evaluation of Risks scale and sociodemographic characteristics. In general, we found that high percentages of young people engage in risky behavior, especially illegal behavior. The results indicate that fighting experience is significantly and positively correlated with the consumption of illegal substances for currently serving men soldiers (but not for women) and this effect is mitigated after discharge from the army. Importantly, the use of illegal substances is not a result of the individual’s preferences for engaging in various risky behaviors. Thus, our results suggest that the effect of the increased propensity toward risky behavior following the experience of fighting overrides the combat unit’s discipline for men when it comes to the consumption of illegal substances. In addition, our findings indicate that serving in a combat unit as opposed to a non-combat unit affects the tendency of women ex-combat soldiers to travel to risky destinations, though this is probably related to their original higher risk attitude, since women must volunteer for combat units.

New Article: Amir, Israeli Druze Women’s Sex Preferences When Choosing Gynecologists

Amir, Hadar. “Israeli Druze Women’s Sex Preferences When Choosing Obstetricians and Gynecologists.” Israel Journal of Health Policy Research 4.13 (2015): 10 pp.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13584-015-0013-z

 

Abstract

Background

Consideration and better understanding of patients’ needs on the part of the healthcare system might help increase the number of people seeking necessary medical care. Many studies have been conducted on patients’ preferences in choosing their health care provider, but the majority of them were conducted in modern western societies, establishing a need to explore other populations. The present study was performed in the Israeli Druze community which is composed of a uniquely traditional and religious population.

We assessed the sex preference of Israeli Druze women regarding obstetricians/gynecologists, and identify other features that affect their choice.

Method

We conducted a cross-sectional study that included 196 Israeli Druze women who anonymously completed a 36-item questionnaire between January-July, 2011.

Results

Most (63.8%) of the responders preferred female obstetricians/gynecologists, while 74.5% had no sex preference for their family physicians. 68.6% of the religious women preferred female obstetricians/gynecologists as compared to 51.76% of those women who self-identified as secular. Most of the women (65%) preferred female obstetricians/gynecologists for intimate procedures, such as pelvic examination and pregnancy follow-up. The main reasons given were: feeling more comfortable with a female practitioner (69.7%), the belief that females are more gentle (56.6%), and being more embarrassed with male obstetricians/gynecologists (45.4%). Three factors were associated with the responders’ preferences for female obstetricians/gynecologists: their age and religious status, and the sex of their regular obstetricians/gynecologists. Women who preferred a female obstetrician/gynecologist assigned a lesser weight to the physician’s knowledge when choosing them. Older and religious women as well as those who attributed less weight to the physician’s professional knowledge were more likely to prefer a female obstetrician/gynecologist.

Conclusions

The majority of responders to our survey (Israeli Druze women), like those in other communities where religiousness and modesty are deeply rooted, prefer female obstetricians/gynecologists, with the overwhelming reasons given being feeling more comfortable and less embarrassed with females, and the notion that female obstetricians/gynecologists are more gentle during intimate procedures.

Keywords:

Druze; Religious; Obstetricians/gynecologists; Sex

New Article: Bensimon, Aggressive Situational Cues Among Israeli Security Personnel

Bensimon, Moshe. “Aggressive Situational Cues Among Israeli Security Personnel.” Journal of Interpersonal Violence 30.8 (2015): 1403-16.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0886260514540331

 

Abstract

The present study enriches our knowledge on the relationship between security personnel and situational cues that may provoke aggression, such as arms and uniforms. The study examined 259 security personnel who completed an aggression questionnaire (AGQ). The study aimed (a) to compare the tendency toward aggression of security personnel who carry or do not carry arms and/or wear a uniform and (b) to compare the tendency toward aggression of men and women security personnel who carry or do not carry arms and/or wear a uniform. The findings indicated no main effect for aggression cueing classification. However, uniformed men had higher scores of physical aggression than women, and women scored significantly higher on anger than men when not carrying any aggressive cues. The findings also revealed that in general, men security personnel reported much higher physical aggression than women, while women showed slightly higher means of verbal aggression than men. The findings are discussed in light of the gender theory and research.

New Article: Gueta & Addad, Long-Term Recovery of Former Drug-Dependent Israeli Women

Gueta, Keren, and Moshe Addad. “A House of Cards: The Long-Term Recovery Experience of Former Drug-Dependent Israeli Women.” Women’s Studies International Forum 48 (2015): 18-28.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2014.10.003

 

Abstract

While previous studies on recovery from drug addiction have tended to focus on recovery initiation and treatment issues among men, the primary purpose of this study is to shed light on the experience of long-term recovery among women. For this purpose, we employed qualitative methods and interviewed nine long-term (two to seven years) recovering women. Additionally, we monitored five women for two years of the recovery process in a dual research track (a total of 24 interviews). The research findings indicate that developing recovery capital, including self-awareness, stress-coping strategies, and various social resources (Granfield & Cloud, 1999), can be part of an effective strategy for overcoming long-term recovery challenges while financial difficulties, intrusive memories, motherhood and inability to find leisure activities may hinder it. These results indicate the need to reconsider gender-sensitive therapies in order to help women to not only initiate, but also maintain recovery.

Conference Paper: Berkovitch & Manor, Grandparents Care Work in a Neo Liberal Era

Berkovitch, Nitza, and Shlomit Manor. “‘We Must Help Them As Much As We Can’: Grandparents Care Work in a Neo Liberal Era.” Inequality in the 21st Century, LSE, London, July 4, 2015, 8:30am.

 

URL: https://sase.confex.com/sase/2015am/webprogram/Paper2416.html

 

Abstract

Similar to many other countries, the Israeli family has undergone major changes in the last few decades, chief among these are processes of individualization and the emergence of “new forms of families” or postmodern families. However, the Israeli family—traditional or new—still plays a central role in public life and in the lives of individuals from all social groups. In this paper we focus on grandparents and grandparental child care within these changing configurations of the family.

In addition to cultural factors, the care provided by grandparents, is also influenced by the “new economy”. In the wake of globalization and neo liberalization, we have witnessed increasing demands on professionals – both in term of their hours and availability. There has also been a rise in the number of workers in hourly-waged “precarious” or “bad jobs” with little to no flexibility. These trends coupled with the growing numbers of working mothers with young children have resulted in a “care deficit” and a growing demand for child care.  In a familist society, such as Israel, this is translated into the young parents’ expectations that their parents, the grandparents, will help shoulder the care work.

Based on in-depth interviews of 32 Jewish retirees, men and women with heterogeneous class backgrounds, we examine how economic forces and cultural factors have shape gendered grandparents’ care practices and meanings. Though both men and women feel that grandparenthood is an important and central aspect in their lives, they still grandparent differently. Whereas women tend to perceive taking care of their grandchildren as a continuation of their role as mothers, helping adult children juggle between work and family, for men fatherhood continues by carrying on their “provider” role and assisting their children financially. These men “slide” easily into the grandfather role without much internal deliberation, whereas women are much more likely to debate among themselves about what constitutes “a good grandmother” and what kind of grandmother they are or would like to be. They oscillate between the individualistic cultural imperative of “it’s me time” and the motherly imperative that, in the Israeli context, never ends.

This gendered perception of grandparenting has two interrelated implications. One, it tends to reproduce the gendered division of care work both among the grandparents and the young couples. It is most often the grandmother who takes responsibility, though the grandfather might tag along. Moreover, the care grandparents provide is usually understood in terms of helping the young mother (daughter or daughter-in-law) more than the father. Two, this emerging Israeli version of “two- person career” (Papanek 1973) family where the (house)wife, who now works full- time, is replaced by care-on-demand grandmothers enables employers to place increasing demands on workers’ time and commitments, assuming that every worker (with family responsibilities) has someone at home to help with domestic care work. Thus, neoliberal labor market practices appear to be operating in tandem with and are maintained by gendered moral rationalities, which are based on love, commitment and an ideology of the “good mother”.