María Ángeles Durán (Madrid, 76 years old) has been a pioneer all his life. She was among the first to investigate the social situation of women and unpaid work, with a concept as caregiver, that occupation opaque to statistics that normally rests on the backs of wives or mothers who care for the sick or minors and whose effort would amount to 28 million jobs, according to their calculations. It was the first that achieved a Chair of Sociology in Spain in 1982. This January 30 picked up the National Sociology Award. It was the first time that a woman with that recognition was distinguished. The PhD in Political Science received EL PAÍS at her home on Tuesday.
Question. He defends that understanding care as an essential activity is a revolution.
Answer. The change is abysmal because it affects the productive system and our ethical and aesthetic codes. The moral responsibility of caring is felt much more strongly by women, while men have not socialized this ethical principle, they do not perceive it with the same force. It is an absolute change in everything, even language.
P. In what sense?
R. All the administrative terminology that talks about active and inactive subjects. Housewives are inactive and work many more hours. Or the concept of productivity. It seems that the job of caring for a child or alleviating the suffering of a sick person was unproductive. We have to redefine everything.
P. Is Spain dealing with the problem of low fertility with adequate depth?
R. On the one hand, it is not enough for a State to want more children, unless it is a totalitarian situation and requires women to have more. But you can encourage it. France had a very low birth rate problem and the State took a series of measures, such as reviewing the conciliation or creating accessible public services. While children require many hours of care, any salaried woman with low income can not pay someone to replace her. So, either there are public services or there is nothing to do to increase the birth rate. In Spain the issue of low birth and fertility has not been taken seriously at all. We have 1.3 children per woman on average; It would require a minimum of 2.1. It is not reasonable to believe that with these indices we will sustain pensions, it is impossible. Even the contribution of immigrants is very insufficient to compensate. While there is no help, couples do not collaborate half and half and there are no stimuli of all kinds, we do not have enough birth rate to keep us in the number of inhabitants we were.
P. What do you think is the biggest factor of social change at this moment in Spain?
R. Women and immigrants. Women, having access to education and then to employment, we require a new society and changes in each plane. When I picked up the prize the other day, I pointed out that the language was uncomfortable for me. I made the joke of saying that I do not know if I am one of the I do not have to call myself one and neither one of the, the Academy forbids it because the previous ones were all male. I feel very uncomfortable with plurals because they deny me, they do not include me. You have to make an effort that men do not do. On the other hand, I love secularism. If someone says: "He stabbed her," it is very clear to me that he gave it to a woman.
P. What do you expect from demonstrations like 8-M or Me Too?
R. Last year was great in that sense on March 8, because there were so many young girls. It became clear that it is not a thing of grandmothers, that there is a youth that demands changes. And for the first time, the banners included the issue of care and work within the home as a vindication. I think the movement will continue although with a little less media attention.
P. You predicted in 2005 that Spanish women would stop being viviparous, that the embryo would go to a bucket. It was a way to advance the subject of rent bellies.
R. The most important technology that has changed the lives of women is all related to the reproductive system. A woman who has control over reproduction does not look at all like one who did not. Technology has only just begun in the reproductive field, in some cases with horrible results for women. The application of ultrasound in some countries has caused the abortion of millions of girls in places where there was no appreciation for them or you could only have a child. In the graphs of the population pyramids the bites of selective abortions of girls are perfectly evident. Now all countries have laws that prohibit it. The bellies for rent are one of the possibilities, but they are very debated.
P. How would you approach it?
R. It's very complicated. Almost everyone is against and instead I think that if it is out of solidarity it should be allowed. A couple that wants to have a child and can not have it on their own, why is it going to prohibit someone for affection from helping them?
P. The difficulty is to ensure that it is done out of affection.
R. I started there. If it were not for that, then everything in life is bought and sold. What is prostitution more than a sale of sexuality? More sale than that there is not and it is not prohibited.
P. He retired in 2012. But he has not stopped working.
R. I work as before. They have been wonderful years except economically, which are horrible because my retirement is half of my salary. In many cases I had to pay with my pension secretarial support expenses to publish a book. I think it is a disaster for the country that many workers who are in very good conditions and who wish to continue working are expelled from the system only to reach an age. It is a huge collective loss. Within nothing we will have more population that is retired than active population. Has no sense.