English title: Should Men Have More Rights…? Gender Role Related Attitudes Before and During the Crisis

Author(s): Judit Takàcs - Ivett Szalma -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2013

Abstract

The present crisis may affect gender role attitudes due to several reasons. First of all, the unemployment rate has increased sharply since the first quarter of 2008 as a result of the economic crisis (Kiiver – Hijman 2010). According to American scholars the recession that began in 2007 has affected male workers disproportionately – however, they also emphasize that “mancession” is not a new phenomenon as all recessions tend to follow this pattern (Elsby et al. 2010; Sahin et al. 2010). When jobs are scarce men’s employment tends to become a priority at the expense of women’s employment, reflecting the dominance of traditional gender role attitudes (Cha – Thébaud 2009). Australian and American scholars also emphasized the key role women’s dependence on men can play in the formation of less egalitarian gender attitudes (Baxter – Kane 1995). On the other hand, female labour market participation may become more important from the family’s point of view as it can help to decrease the risks – including reduction of salaries and increased unemployment – exacerbated by the crisis, thus stimulating less traditional gender role attitudes (Pongrácz – S. Molnár 2011). The aim of our study is to reveal whether some changes have occurred in gender role attitudes among European women and men between 2005 and 2010 due to the crisis. The empirical base of our analyses is a rotating module, focusing on work-life balance issues, which has been included in both the second and the fifth rounds of the European Social Survey (ESS), conducted in 2004-2005 and in 2010, respectively. Our sample included 20 European countries; within each country we focused only on those respondents who were aged between 20 and 55, had paid work and lived in couple relationships. Men and women were examined in separate models as we assumed that certain factors can affect the attitudes of women and men in different ways and we wanted to be able to track these differences. Two explanatory models (a labour market model and a socio-cultural model) were constructed by applying multilevel mixed-effects linear regression. According to our findings in both the labour market model and the socio-cultural model changes could be observed: for example, those women who were affected by the crisis in the last three years through their work situation (by experiencing shortened working time, decreased wages, jobs becoming more insecure, changes in work tasks) agreed less with traditional attitudes stating that men should have priority in the labour market, when jobs are scarce. A very clear finding of the present research is that gender inequalities play a very important role in shaping gender role attitudes even during a time of crisis.

Conference name: 20th International Conference of Europeanists, Crisis and Contingency: States of (In)stability

Location: Amsterdam

Start date: Jun 25, 2013

Type: Paper