Popular Culture and Work-Family Issues

Activity Description:


To demonstrate and critique the ways in which work-family issues are presented in popular culture


  1. Show students one illustration of content presented from popular culture that illustrates the ways in which work-family relations are managed or constructed.  For example, one can show the old Enjoli commercial that integrates the song “I am a Woman” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4X4MwbVf5OA
  2. Assign students to find another representation of work-family relations from popular culture (e.g., a music video, news story, cartoon, movie trailer). Suggest that students stretch their imaginations to consider work-family content as it represents a diversity of experiences and structures (such as aging, disability, childhood, etc.).  Accompanying their brief presentation of an artifact from popular culture, students are also to present findings from one empirical study or one statistic that considers the work-family concern presented. For example, if the Enjoli add shows a woman energetic and satisfied in assuming the roles of worker, homemaker, and sex object, the empirical study will identify the proportion of women who are actually satisfied or energized by this arrangement. 

Note—To keep presentation lengths manageable and to integrate as much content into the class as possible, instructors should coach students that the presentation of popular culture content should take no longer than 3 minutes, so that longer allotments of time can be devoted to discussion of that content.

Activity Source:

Content developed by the Sloan Work and Family Teaching Task Force