FES | Federación Española de Sociología

XII Congreso de la FES

Resilient or newcomer? Female breadwinners in Spain and the impact of the economic crisis

GT 26 Sociología de la Población y Demografía

Elena Vidal Coso (Université de Genève)
Xiana Bueno (Harvard University)


Sesión de comunicaciones orales Franja 3 : Reproducción de las generaciones y desequilibrios estructurales de las poblaciones
Responsable(s): Pau Miret Gamundi (Centre d'Estudis Demogràfics)
Tipo de sesión: Sesión de comunicaciones orales
Día: viernes, 1 de julio de 2016
Hora: 09:00 a 10:45
Lugar: 010

Spain is a unique country in the European context with regards to the impact of the crisis on income roles within households, particularly due to the increasing prevalence of female-breadwinner couples as a consequence of greater male unemployment. The increasing female economic headship could deeper the economic vulnerability among families, but also could have implications regarding the intra-households gender roles. Thus, it is of central importance the understanding diverse paths towards female new economic role. We aim to answer three specific questions: 1) Which has been the evolution of the intra-household income roles in Spain during the different stages of the economic crisis? 2) Is the major resilience of women in employment or the entrance to the employment of inactive women the main reason for the increasing prevalence of female economic headship within couples? 3) Are there differences between these two typologies of inflows regarding the couple’s sociodemographic, labor and national origin profile?

Using panel data from the Spanish Labour Force Survey for the crisis period (2008-2015), we longitudinally investigated flows between household types in order to establish the extent to which the shift towards female-breadwinner couples reflects a greater resilience of women\'s employment. Specifically, we sought to find whether it stemmed from resilient female workers due to a sectorial and occupational pattern of job losses within a gender-typed labor market or rather was due to an added worker effect, with previously non-active women entering the labour force. Through logistic regression models with random effects, we observe intra-couple dynamics from one observation t to the following t+1. Through transitions from dual-earner couples to female-breadwinner couples we identify resilient female-workers, while looking at couples that were at t time formally either male-breadwinner couples or couples where neither partner was employed, we detected newcomer female-workers. For the latter, the analysis will differentiate labor force entry from inactivity and unemployment. Our findings show the existence of differences in the education level, job characteristics and national origin of female-breadwinner couples. The majority of female breadwinners are resilient rather than newcomers. A foreign-born, lower educated women employed under precarious labor-market conditions represent the emerging pattern of female earners during the crisis. The understanding of the diverse paths towards new female economic roles due to the crisis is of central importance in order to forecast possible implications for gender equality.

Palabras clave: Female breadwinner, Spain, Economic crisis, resilient, added-worker