Hardly any broad analyses exist to link the vast contemporary change in life patterns both to changes in women's lives (rising employment, declining fertility, and changing use of time) and to changes in men's lives, the gender contract, and the economy, as well as to national social policies. This book shows not only similar trends across countries but also the likely direction of future change, particularly as related to economic growth, gender equity, and the well-being of families and children. The first chapter, an overview by the editors, provides a comprehensive conceptual framework for understanding how the economic, sociological, and cultural changes have produced new individual life patterns. Succeeding chapters cover in Part I the connections between contemporary changes in lives and the changing global economy, the changing welfare state, and the growth of personal choice; in Part II changing time use patterns of men and women; in Part III the institutional factors in employment, child care, law, and family that affect life patterns of both sexes. The closing chapters in Part IV focus on characteristics of individuals and occupations that support the new work and family roles.