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Work-family balance in the summer, a bad deal for women

Proyect selected in Call to incentivise the dissemination of research in the Social Sciences

Almudena Moreno Mínguez, UVa; Raquel Llorente Heras, UAM; Diego Dueñas Fernández, UAH; Adapted by: Laia Brufau and Eli Vivas (StoryData)
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How do families solve the problem of balancing work and family life when school finishes for the summer? Mothers bear the brunt in the job sphere, which causes probable negative consequences for them in the short and the long run.
Key points
  • 1
       Women in Spain move from employment to inactivity in the summer more than men do.
  • 2
       Para las mujeres, la atención de las distintas cargas familiares es una razón muy importante para pasar a la inactividad en verano, mientras que para los hombres es un motivo de mucho menor peso.
  • 3
       For women, attending to the various family obligations is a very important reason for moving to inactivity in the summer, whereas for men it is a less powerful reason.

Many women become economically inactive in the summer (neither work nor look for a job) to reconcile their time with their family’s needs. This may entail various risks of an occupational nature, such as fewer professional opportunities, worse wage prospects and a less secure work future.

Using data obtained from the Economically Active Population Flow Statistics (Estadística de Flujos de la Población Activa or EFPA) published by the National Statistics Institute (INE), the analysis conducted for this study shows that, in the summer, women move from employment to inactivity more than men do. Between 2010 and 2019, an average of 325,730 women transited to inactivity in the third quarter of the year, while only 220,260 men took this option. What appears to be a solution to the problem of work-family balance actually becomes an ineffective solution, as it generates a bigger problem in the long run: it causes career stoppages among women and reduces their real and potential wages on the Spanish labour market. Furthermore, it is important to note the root of the ineffectiveness of this solution: at present, the women who leave the labour market in the summer have a more solid professional background than the men who move from employment to inactivity.

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