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Background We examine the effects of caregiving on family life satisfaction among employed women by studying whether there are differences between those women who do not spend time caring for family members and those who do, comparing carers of young children, older family members, family members aged 12-64 and more than one family members having support needs. In order to further explore the significant factors associated with employed women's family life satisfaction, individual socio-demographic background, social support, and well-being are considered.

Methods We use data from the National women survey in Taiwan that 6014 women (aged 15 to 64) were recruited by random and completed a computer assisted telephone interview in September or October of 2006. In total, 53.3% (n=3,207) of them were employed and these employed women became our study samples. We conducted multiple regression models to examine the significance of associations between the factors. The first model includes types of care recipients. The second model explores possible exploratory factors by adding individual socio-demographics.

Results We found that 32.3% (n=1067) of employed women offered regular care to their family members. 87.0% (n=926) of them were caring for children younger than 12, 2.9% (n=27) for a family member aged 12-64, 6.8% (n=73) for an older family member; and 3.8% (n=41) for more than one family member. Multivariate analyses indicate that family care was associated with family life satisfaction of only those employed women who were caring for family members aged 12-64. As expected family life satisfaction was associated with educational attainment, marital status, health status, economic problems, emotional support and hours of housework. Unexpectedly, number of hours of neither paid work nor unpaid care work had significant relevance.

Conclusion This study suggests that the impacts of family caregiving on employed women's family life satisfaction are not one-dimensional. Instead, in order to improve their family life satisfaction, it is necessary to promote both women's health and economic and emotional well-being as well as to offer support for sharing housework, particularly for those employed women who are caring for family members aged 12-64.

Full paper: Chou_Y-C_2009_Carers.pdf

Presentation slides: Chou_Y-C_2009_Carers_slides.pdf

This paper analyses the relationship between social assistance and poverty in South Korea. Social assistance in Korea which had had a Poor Law tradition for about forty years, was finally reformed and a new social assistance scheme designed to protect fundamental human rights, was established in 2000. Are the means-tested social assistance benefits effective in protecting the poor from hardship? How effectively do the means-tested benefits reduce poverty?

To assess the effects of the means-tested social assistance benefits in Korea on poverty reduction, this paper uses household data from the National Basic Livelihood Security Programme Review Board (NRB). Moreover, to obtain a comparative perspective, a British dataset the Family Resources Survey (FRS) is assessed. The incidence and the intensity of poverty for a range of household types are analysed before and after social assistance benefits for both countries. The results of the analysis show the Korean social assistance benefits do not radically alleviate poverty, although recipients' income positions are improved after social assistance transfers. Compared to Korea, Britain achieved marked success of means-tested social assistance benefits with a high degree of effectiveness, especially among the extreme and the severe poverty brackets, while there are variations between different household types regarding the incidence and the intensity of poverty before and after transfer. Some suggestions are made for reforming social assistance benefit.

Tin Shui Wai (TSW), a new town in Hong Kong, housing almost 300,000 people, sprang into existence in the 1990s and was named by the media as a city of misery after a number of serious family tragedies and the publicized high unemployment rate and high percentage of welfare recipients. A study was conducted to examine what has gone wrong in the planning and development of TSW. The study involved searching through town planning documents, interviews with key players in the planning and development processes, interviews and focus groups with various stake holders in the community, household survey and street-level survey on visitors and shoppers. While most of the factors identified in the study were directly or indirectly related to planning, the major issues are more related to the changes in the economy and social policies, particularly in housing policies. The original intention of having a balanced development in TSW, that is, a balanced community mix and the availability of industrial jobs, cannot be materialized due to the changes in housing policy, and partly due to the lack of private sector interest in this new town and the disappearance of the manufacturing industry in Hong Kong. Other lessons learnt will be discussed in the paper.

Full paper: Law_2009_planning_and_development.pdf

Presentation slides: Law_2009_planning_and_development_slides.pdf

The housing market in China, the nation achieving the highest economic growth rate, has recently experienced an impressive boom with skyrocketing house prices nationwide, turning in two decades of housing reform from a previously inefficient welfare-oriented housing system into a more market-oriented approach to providing housing. Underlying such stunning changes have been housing policies, recognizing the sector as having a key driving role in developing the economy due to its positive spillover effects for many other sectors, along with China's strong fundamentals, such as robust economic growth, rapid urbanization, appreciation of the Chinese currency (Renminbi), significant real demand and speculation demand for housing.

 

However, the soaring house prices and lagging housing welfare system in local areas have resulted in mass complaints because it's difficult for most ordinary citizens to afford a common flat even by monthly instalment. Overheated housing market also represents possible financial risk. Against the backcloth, in order to maintain social cohesion and stability, and sound economic development, China's housing policies have begun to move beyond housing reform. The main transformations of housing policy include placing the emphasis of housing policies on maintaining house prices and constraining speculative demand, employing diversified regulating measures rather than only administrative measures. Meanwhile, more attentions have been paid to establish a housing welfare system rather than only concentrating on housing industry development and stimulating economic growth. As a result, the recent statistical data has displayed that the transformed housing policies trigger a correction in the current housing market, such as reining in overly rapid house prices, constraining the speculative demand and developing housing welfare system.

Homelessness is a condition and social category of people lack of housing. This is because they cannot afford, or unable to maintain, regular, safe, and adequate shelter. How to help and control homeless is public issue, especially for government.

In Taiwan, different cities do not have the same standard for homeless. In Taichung city, current mayor Hu concerns very much on this issue. He instructed Social Affairs Department (SAD) to handle many problems that homeless people face. For example, lack of food; reduced access to health care; and increased risk of suffering from violence. But most social workers of SAD are female; they are not available in many circumstances. Therefore, SAD cooperate non-profit organization (NPO) to deal with this situation.

I am the director of department of social work at Tunghai University. I also voluntarily to be general secretary of family wellness association (FWA). From 2006, one major work of FWA is to recruit personnel to do temporary help service. We hire, train, supervise, and provide performance appraisal social workers, these workers then work for SAD.

From 2007, we recruit 4 dispatched workers to help homeless. These workers are named "Homeless Investigator", every night they went out on an inspection patrol and provide a variety of services to assist homeless people. They are function as bridge between government and homeless population.

My FWA colleagues and I connect government and dispatched workers. Every monthly meeting I supervise these dispatched workers to discuss their work condition. When analyze the problems the homeless population met, I emphasis positive thinking and strength building perspective. I believe "workfare" will be better choice for the homeless. My major concern is how to help the homeless to have job opportunity.

But most employers do not like to employ this population; most homeless also do not like regular work. They require the much more flexibility in arranging work time and style. So I suggest my supervisees to arrange temporary work opportunity. So homeless people may do some odd-jobs, foe example, they help temple fairs, give handbills to passerby. When some protest groups have social movement, they march in a group. They preferred to join limited and temporary social interaction, where social boundaries are unclear and norms are weak and unconventional. They would feel that they can easily participate.

Currently, we still run this program. I hope to share my experience and findings in this study.

Full paper: Peng_2009_Dual_temporary_work.pdf

Presentation slides: Peng_2009_Dual_temporary_work_slides.pdf

The primary focus of this study is to examine the characteristics of the asset poor and to empirically investigate those factors affecting the likelihood of the asset poor's poverty exit and entry. The 2nd wave through 8th wave data from KLIPS were used for analysis. The asset poverty lined of 50% of the household net asset was set up so that households below 50% are classified as the asset poor. The characteristics of the asset poor were examined in a static manner by analyzing only the 8th wave KLIPS data.. To investigate those factors affecting the likelihood of asset poor's poverty transferral with a dynamic perspective, the authors employed two survival analysis methods, the life table analysis and the Time-dependent Cox regression analysis. Based on the findings, some recommendations were made for future policy efforts to support the asset poor and for the current poverty policies as well.. In specific, if the 'Individual Development Account' is to be initiated in the future, it would be essential to build a systematic model to utilize accumulated asset by enhancing job competencies and ability to gain a decent job.

Presentation slides: Kang_Yoo_2009_asset_poor.pdf

Japan is one of the countries being hit hardest by the global financial crisis. The layoff of temporary workers attracts public attention. However, there also exists a working class called "the working poor" in Japan, whose working conditions remain the same as those of the temporary workers. A high percentage of "the working poor" is dominated by divorced or single mothers and their children. In this presentation, several issues related to the working poor are addressed, including the situations the women face in everyday life.

The annual income of the working poor is estimated to be less than one half of the average general household income in Japan. Consequently most of them are pushed towards the poverty line. The presenter emphasizes politically thorny issues, such as woman's labor policy and delays in the maternal and child welfare measures. These issues have not been solved by the "Work First" model - the recent working aid package proposed by the Japanese government. It is obvious that public assistance and wages in the labor market are inadequate for the working poor. Inevitably most mothers are forced to take care of their child/children and, at the same time, work for a livelihood. These conditions deprive the children of such families of both the opportunity for a higher education and of adequate medical care. The vicious sequence is likely to ensue as generations of the poverty continue to exist.

The presenter proposes that rectification of the current labor policy with regard to child care plans should be implemented in order to alleviate poverty issues. She will also discuss some issues on education in connection with welfare policy.

Full paper: Yoshinaka_2009_working_poor.pdf

Focusing on women who have experienced sex trafficking, and who are excluded from the government legal protection of trafficked persons. This paper is based upon findings generated by interviews with trafficked women, interviews with various professionals involved in the field, in which working on combating sex trafficking.

The majority of sex trafficked persons are women and, in these interviews and accounts, women from China in my study were trafficked because One Child Family policy and male supremacy culture. Therefore, women were sacrificed to work at young age to support the family financial. We raise the issue of gender inequality in the process women are lured to be trafficked.

The paper will also explore the difficulties faced by women who have experienced forms of trafficking harm as they are arrested by the Taiwan authorities. Although Taiwan has passed the Law of Combating Human Trafficking on 23rd January 2009, we argue that the current definition of sex trafficking is leaky, and women who are trafficked may be not identified as victims. We will use the cases in our study to discuss if women can be identified as victims under the Law of Combating Human Trafficking. This paper aims to explore the social exclusion in which trafficked women seek and/or receive help and assistance in Taiwan.

Full paper: Lin_Ku_2009_gender_inequality.pdf

This paper leverages three years of research - including a year of empirical fieldwork - to provide a comprehensive and critical account of Japan's new policies for socially excluded youth. Identified as 'NEETs' for being neither in education, employment or training, 15 to 34 year old non-employed young people were constructed as a 'social problem' in 2004 and, after a ferocious public debate, two extraordinary programmes were enacted for this group, one in 2005 and another in 2006. Known as the Youth Independence Camp and the Youth Support Station, these novel measures represent Japan's first public services for the explicit purpose of engaging and socially including young adults who have fallen outside education and the labour markets.

   Yet the details of such new youth policies remain elusive: Who was it exactly that promoted them in the first place, and why was the category 'NEET' so crucial in the policy process? How was it even possible to make tangible policies for a group that the public came to see as 'lazy' and undeserving, and how is 'social inclusion' carried out in practice?

By investigating, in turn, the three levels of youth policy discourse, policy-making and policy delivery, this paper uncovers a nuanced reality where 'youth' are not necessarily all that young, where 'employment' measures transform into welfare services, where 'disciplinarian' approaches morph into lenient ones, and where 'social inclusion' indeed produces exclusion as its side effect. Yet, behind such a thick web of paradoxes one does discern an emerging approach to social inclusion that relies upon local face-to-face networks, gradual confidence-building activities and alternative jobs. As the paper argues, it is precisely in such practices and realities at sites of youth support that the meaning of 'inclusion' and 'exclusion' - in its particular Japanese context but not without implications to other East Asian societies - is most vividly revealed and rendered accessible to analysis.

The last three decades have witnessed tremendous social, political and economic changes in China since the adoption of the open-door policy in the late 1970s. A market economy was adopted as a replacement of the planned economy to allocate resources in the country. Since then, however, sociologists' attention has been drawn to social inequality, as notable disparities are noticed across the country between urban and rural areas, between regions and between different social groups. Given that much of the public good attached to education has been displaced in the transformation from a planned economy to a market economy, the problem of educational inequality has been looked at within the context of social equity and equality.

This article employs social exclusion theory as the analytical framework to examine education inequalities in China within the context of the transition from a planned economy to a market economy. It starts with a brief introduction of social exclusion theory. By using Sen's approach to analyze educational inequities in China, it then argues that four types of inequalities, namely constitutive deprivation, instrumental deprivation, active exclusion and passive exclusion, can be identified in China's education. It closes by considering the adverse effect of existing social exclusion on education inequality, despite the fact that the Chinese government has made effort to confront the increasing pressure from educational inequalities.