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Ariel Ellis

Call for Papers: An Exploration of being Childfree at Work: Challenges and Opportunities

As interest in working parents had grown, there has been limited interest in workers without children, including those who do not plan to have any (Mård, 2020; Verniers, 2020; Wilkinson & Rouse, 2023), to the extent that employees without children have been argued to be ‘nearly nonexistent from the perspective of the general population’, with ‘particularly the involuntary childless [being] virtually invisible’ (Archetti, 2019, p. 175). This is particularly important given the increasing prevalence of non-parent workers in organizations, a trend that is likely to increase in the coming years in Western countries (Eurostat, 2018).

Among childfree workers, there is an important distinction to be made between those individuals who have chosen not to have children and those who are involuntarily childfree. Beyond having different underlying reasons for being childfree, these two groups are perceived differently in the workplace and, therefore, likely to have different work experiences (Doyle et al., 2013). Beyond considering how experiences of being childfree at work will vary based upon whether this identity is chosen or not, an exploration of childfree workers must also consider how this experience may differ based on gender, race, and class.

Despite being childfree, these individuals have full lives including potential caregiving responsibilities pointing to the importance of understanding their unique work/life dynamics. Unfortunately, ‘research on work-life balance has focused almost exclusively on the work–family conflict among parents and failed to include workers without children’ (Verniers, 2020, p. 107). Assumptions about the centrality of childfree workers’ professional identity (Park, 2005) leads to a situation in which they feel excluded and overlooked in workplace cultures that prioritize parenthood and thereby less entitled to, or indeed less likely to have access to flexible working options (Mumford et al, 2023).

This Special Issue aims to advance knowledge on the workplace experiences of childfree workers by seeking submissions from scholars across disciplines.

We seek to understand the workplace experiences of childfree individuals, how they navigate their careers and workplace relations, alongside their personal lives, and how organizations can best include and support these individuals. We hope that encouraging greater academic attention to this growing population will lead to theoretical and practical implications that are useful for scholars and organizations alike.

Get full details at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/pb-assets/assets/14680432/GWO_SI_CfP_Childfree-at-Work.pdf

 

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