Creating at university the environment friendly for studies, students' employment, and family : approach of students

Article Lithuanian CLOSED
Sidlauskienė, Virginija (2011)
  • Subject: Bendrovės kultūra | Corporate culture | Family | Lietuva | Lithuania | Universitetai | Universities | Šeima

The main aim of EQUAL project "FAMILY UNIVERSE: Family-Friendly Organization" was to create and to test innovative methodology and means for educational institutions and organizations, starting to reconcile family and professional life and trying to change stereotypical gender roles in the family and in the work, by forming family-friendly study and work environment in Siauliai University. Conditions for the establishment of family oriented organization at University of Šiauliai are analysed in this article. The terms "family-friendly workplace," "family-friendly company," and "family-friendly employer" refer to a workplace that, to some extent, acknowledges and responds to the work and personal / family responsibilities assumed by employees. Strachan and Burgess (1998, p.251) note, "… (a) 'family friendly workplace' is one which … develops and implements policies that allow employees to simultaneously fulfill work and family responsibilities." The concept of a family-friendly workplace is usually conceptualized as a continuum, rather than a dichotomous variable. Work-family leaders have identified four interrelated components to family-friendly workplaces: benefits, policies and programs that promote employees' quality of life and work/life balance; workplace cultures and climates that reflect "family" or employee-centered assumptions and beliefs; workplace relationships (e.g., with supervisors and coworkers) that are respectful of employees' work-family and work/life responsibilities; and work processes, systems, and structures/practices that keep the dual agenda (e.g., beneficial outcomes both for the organization and for employees) in the forefront. The concept of the project entitled “Family Planet: Family-Friendly Organization” also centers around gender equality issues; the project is aimed at creating conditions and testing measures for employees and students to reconcile family, work and studies and at changing stereotype views and attitudes toward male and female roles: 1) a balance of genders was sought in selecting representatives of the DP partners for the implementation of the project: men constitute 30%; 2) reduction of horizontal segregation is sought by employing men in “female” spheres and women in “male” spheres: at the child care centre, there is one man among 4 workers, while at the distant learning class there is one woman out of 2 workers; 3) use of innovative measures to reconcile work, studies and family is being recorded (by gender); 4) measurements and monitoring of gender inequality are being conducted in order to evaluate the gender situation by branches of science, faculties and centres, the distribution of financial flows, annual “Best Teacher” and “Best Scientist” awards etc.; 4) four instruments for the monitoring of gender equality/inequality have been developed: they measure equal/unequal access and opportunities; academic and research participation / lack of participation, outcome lack of outcome and equality/inequality in working / studying conditions; 5) measures to increase workers and students, men‘s and women‘s awareness of equal opportunities are developed and tested, such as training, interactive surveys and voting by expressing personal position; presentation of interesting measures that are applied by advanced organisations at the project’s website; publication of examples of sexist language; 6) identified different needs, expectations, experience and behaviour of men and women, facts of discrimination and non-recognition, manifestations of inequality between superiors and subordinates, students and teachers in male and female organizations. Examination of the global university education environments favor students for employment and family responsibilities and the realization of summarizing the study results lead to the following conclusions: 1. The majority of students are generally have positive attitude of the family and educational measures to improve the organization concerned. The majority of students (85%) believe that the university authorities should introduce measures to facilitate the students to combine study and family concerns. 2. Attractive study and work coordination means are teaching students working in respect of goodwill, free attendance schedule and individual study opportunities; in general studies and the harmonization of work as a package of acute and graduate students studying by correspondence. 3. Excellence study and family reconciliation measures are related to the favorable attitude of teachers in raising children and students need a financial incentive measures (scholarships, reduced fees, assistance fund).
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