We know it takes a village – but how does that work?
Working families finding community solutions
The issues facing working parents are most often posed at either the individual level (“How can I achieve better work-life balance?”) or at the level of society at large (“Should Canada have a national child-care strategy?).
Jane Thompson led to October DwD centred on the question “How can community-level change help working families?”
Can local initiatives like babysitting co-ops, community kitchens and pedestrian school-buses transform the lives of working parents?
Jane introduced the session with an overview of the issues facing working moms and dads, and how reframing our understanding, at both the individual and the family level, can help us navigate our way to greater resilience. She presented some common assumptions we have about the role of the individual in households and gendered differences in work. Jane defined resilience as the ability to adapt and reorganize without loosing your essential self.
While these family issues are played out against the backdrop of broad social policies (including paid parental leave, child-care subsidies, and full-day kindergarten), this session focused on how we can address the challenges of working families at a community level. One of the themes that emerged was the important of having public spaces and the role of the public school in being a multi-functional space to build community on a neighbourhood level.
Jane Thompson is the author of Resilient Woman: Weaving Together Work, Family, and Self. She writes and speaks on the challenges and opportunities faced by working families. A working mother herself, Jane has a PhD in women’s history, as well as a business degree, and a certification as a life coach. As part of her broad commitment to helping people live their best lives, she also works as the executive director of a national scholarship program, granting $1.4 million in undergraduate funding each year.