Work-life balance of women teachers in West Bengal.

AuthorSaha, Amal Krishna


India has experienced a sweeping demographic, social, economic and technological change during the past decade. These changes have had, and still continue to have a major impact on the worklife balance of Indian employees, especially on the female teacher's life.

There are significantly higher numbers of earning couples in India now than before. Their numbers are increasing day by day because both boys and girls expect that the spouse should have a good job. They know that one single income is not enough to run the family smoothly (Saha & Dey, 2014). Work and family, together, play a significant role in their lives and their maintenance together is a challenge. Personal life can be more demanding if they have kids or ageing parents. Women have a greater role to play in a family life. All over the world, irrespective of family structure and culture, women are the primary caterers for domestic and childcare responsibilities. They have to discharge the responsibilities of child bearing and rearing as they try to build their careers. But today no educated and working women want to leave their job for child bearing and rearing. In India, young women take help of their mothers or mothers-in-law to take care of their baby when they are at work. Sometimes they are also forced to take help from a helping hand (Aya or nanny). But their minds remain busy with their babies at home. They enquire about their babies through phone calls for giving necessary instructions, from time to time. When a baby falls sick or needs mother's attention, they take leave from the working place and stay at home. The pressure of work and child rearing responsibilities sometimes become their nightmare. Yet they dare not leave the job. Jobs are scarce in the Indian market. They try their level best to maintain both of their responsibilities. Those who are careerists remain unmarried or delay in embracing motherhood.

Owing to economic reasons, the family structure has changed dramatically. Nowadays, the concept of a single child or nuclear family is having its roots in most of the cities in India. As a result, large numbers of female children are getting themselves enrolled in schools and colleges. They are equally competing with their counterparts in all spheres of life. The conservativeness of the Indian society is diminishing very rapidly. Indian organizations are opening their doors for women employees, which were unthinkable even a few years back.

The profession of teaching is the most favored among Indian women. The provisional data indicate that in secondary and senior secondary levels women teachers were 42.61 percent and 49.08 percent respectively during 2013-14. These figures were 37.77 percent and 39.33 percent in 2010-11(Govt. of India, 2014).

Work-life balance may be expressed as the absence of conflict between work and family, or between personal roles. In contrast, work-life conflicts occur when involvement in one area i.e. work or personal life interferes with the other. Working women balance their emotional, behavioral and time demands in both the spheres of life, simultaneously.

Review of Literature

India is a country of 1.32 billion people as of May 3, 2016 (Indiaonlinepages, 2016). According to the 2011 Census, female literacy rate was only 64.60 percent whereas male literacy rate was 73.0 percent (Govt. of India, 2014). This indicates that India is still a parochial society where male and female children are not treated equally. This cultural barrier has held back the development of female child in Indian society. But the scenario is changing very rapidly. After globalization, large numbers of girls are coming into the job market every year. They are taking all sorts of courses and professions which were unthinkable a few years back. But most favorable area for them is teaching profession. It may be a school, college or university. In our society, teaching is considered a noble profession especially for women. Generally, on an average a teacher is engaged in his or her job around eight hours (6 hours in school + 2 hrs commuting) per day and six days a week. Overwork is a universal problem for teachers all over the world. It is affecting them not only in India but also in Canada, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Hongkong, Sweden and the United States (The ATA, 2012).

It is well established in the social science literature that interference between work and non-work responsibilities has number of negative outcomes on the part of the employees. Employee attitudes towards job reveal that high levels of both work-to-life and life-to-work conflicts have lower levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Burke & Greenglass, 1999; Kossek & Ozeki, 1998). It also reflects in the behavior of employees which includes reduced performance, work effort and increased absenteeism and turnover (Anderson, Coeffey & Byerly, 2002; Aryee, 1992, Frone, Yardley & Markel, 1997; Wayne, Mussisea & Fleeson, 2004). Both work-to-life and life- to-work conflicts are also associated with stress and burnout (Anderson et. al. 2002; Kinnunen & Mauno, 1998), cognitive difficulties such as staying awake, lack of concentration and low alertness (MacEwen & Barling, 1994), and reduced levels of general health and energy (Frone, Russel & Barnes, 1996).

The spill-over effects of job satisfaction and life-satisfaction suggest that life at work and outside work of people are in mutual relation and that satisfaction with work can influence an individual's satisfaction with life in general and vice-versa (Bass & Bass, 1976). Research also focused on the spill-over effects of stress on working mothers (Barnett & Marshall, 1992) and dual-earner couples (Barnett, 1994). Unlike soft-ware industry, where flexibility of work is a norm, in teaching job there is no such opportunity. According to Duxbury and Higgins "our inability to balance our jobs and our home life is costing corporate Canada as much as $10-billion a year due to absenteeism, lost output, lower productivity, missed deadlines and grumpy customers" (Mekenna, 2012).


In teaching profession, work-life balance has become more and more challenging in to-days' world. The work load of a teacher not only demands their time in the institution but also extends to their home so as to get prepared for the following day apart from checking student's assignments, maintaining their records and attending to various institution related functional requirements. In this context, the present research seeks to find out the:

i. Factors that affect the wok-life balance of secondary school teachers in West Bengal

ii. Support they receive from their personal and professional life

iii. Influence of biographical variables on factors that derived from the factor analysis


The questionnaire used in the present research consisted of two parts: the first consisted of questions regarding socio-biographical variables of the respondents and the second consisted of eighteen questions regarding different aspects of difficulties they face and opportunities they enjoy in...

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