Friday, 6 January 2017

Marriage and gender inequality: work-family arrangements of Portuguese and British highly qualified women

an article by Rodrigo Rosa and Catarina Lorga (University of Lisbon, Lisboa, Portugal) and Clare Lyonette (Institute for Employment Research (IER), University of Warwick, Coventry, UK)


This article examines work-family reconciliation processes in order to understand if, over the course of marital life, women become socially closer or further away from their partner. Drawing on work-life interviews with highly qualified women in Portugal and Britain, we compare these processes in two societies with different historical and social backgrounds.

Findings reveal three main configurations of social (in)equality which emerge during married life: growing inequality in favour of the man, in favour of the woman or equality between spouses. With due attention to the importance of national specific factors, we present three main conclusions.

First, (in) equality is built up over the course of marital life and female strategies for reconciling family and work are at the core of this process.

Second, the national specificities can mould the effects of cross-national gender mechanisms.

Third, the intersection between cross-cultural phenomena such as conservative attitudes towards domestic work and national specificities (such as the availability of part-time options) is a rather complex process which needs further research.

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