An International Comparison
Edited by Hans-Peter Blossfeld and Heather Hofmeister
Chapter 15: Hard Choices: Can Spanish Women Reconcile Job and Family?
Carles Simó Noguera INTRODUCTION Those countries previously closed off from global influences, including Spain, have become involved in a process of interdependence and integration into the global economy that affects not only their domestic institutions but also how those institutions are regulated. This chapter investigates the specific transformations of mid-career women’s life courses in Spain brought about by globalization processes. Compared with men, Spanish women are strongly overrepresented in domestic tasks and play a unique role within the family as the main, if not the only, providers of care. As a consequence, since women’s job opportunities and expectations are particularly affected by family formation processes, as well as by educational skills and previous job experience, I will assess the relationship between family formation and employment career pathways. Spain’s economic autarky began to erode before the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975, and its economy became more exposed to international competition by the time the country joined the European Community a decade later. Today, governments actively work to make the Spanish economy more internationally competitive, in particular by removing state controls over the economy and by privatizing public companies. In this liberalization process, certain previously protected sectors are exposed to competition. The process of democratization and setting up a modern welfare system was accompanied by intense external transactions and contact that profoundly affected and transformed politics, society and culture, leading to difficult internal adjustments in government, production, labor and education. Government intervention in the labor market dealing with the diminution...
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