It seems absurd that our country, the fifth with the highest GDP in the European Union, has at the same time the second worst rate of female unemployment in the select club of 28: 19% in 2007, almost double the European average ( 10.9%), according to Eurostat data. Behind, there is only Greece with a 26.1% unemployment among women. Ahead, everyone else. And many are economies that do not have much weight in the Old Continent: in Cyprus 11.3% of its female population of working age does not have a job, in Lithuania it is 6.7%, in Poland it is 4.9%, in Malta 4.7% and Hungary 4.6%, as an example. The big engine, Germany, closes the ranking with 3.3%.
And while it is true that so far this year unemployment among Spanish women has declined (at 1.46 points in the second quarter of 2018), we remain the second Europeans with the most unemployment among women. In addition, we also fail to reduce the large gap that exists with the indicators of the male collective, to whom the recovery is favoring more. In view of this is the last INE Population Survey that locates the rate of female unemployment in 17.08% compared to 13.72% of men.
That in Spain the stock market has the name of a woman responds to a whole set of economic, sociological and cultural factors that have been forged over the years. Of course, each country has its peculiarities. The researcher of Fedea (Foundation for Applied Economics Studies) Florentino Felgueroso that "in countries such as Poland, agriculture still has a lot of weight, and it is a sector with a great participation of women, as it was the case in the sixties". And there is also a lot of labor in non-qualified activities, which are usually occupied by them.
Spain also has a large deficit that has always distinguished our economy: the high rate of unemployment suffered by the population, and especially the woman, as indicated by Almudena Semur, secretary general of the Institute of Economic Studies (IEE). "In our country," he says, "the unemployment rate stood at 17.2% in 2017, compared to 4.9% in the case of Poland or 4.2% in Hungary."
Lack of conciliation
The Spanish drag a structural strike that has not emerged overnight. They entered the labor market late. "They started in the eighties but it was not until the nineties that they began to have acceptable employment rates," he recalls. Jorge Guelbenzu, General Director of Infoempleo. At the end of 1995, the employment rate among women was 26.34% (today it is 44.19%). Of them, 53.26% (currently 55.75%).
«The woman 30 years ago participated very young in the world of work. Many were working at age 16, but then they left. " And there is a reality that weighs like a slab, as all the experts agree: the conciliation is a burden for them. "The unemployment rate only reflects the deficiencies of the labor market in our country. Many women find it very difficult to reconcile work and family life in a job market where there is a large gender wage gap and in which there are also distortions regarding positions of responsibility », defends Almudena Semur.
The deficit policy of conciliation is very recent. There has not been time for the few existing measures to have an effect on generations of working women of childbearing age. "It was only five years ago when companies really and seriously worried about conciliation. We lack consciousness so that women can make compatible, lack of involvement and equity. Motherhood has weighed heavily when it comes to the incorporation of women into the labor market and in their development. Even today the maternity leave and the reduction of working hours are like losing precious time for a promotion and for a professional career, "says Guelbenzu.
A polarized market
The lack of conciliation is compounded by the fact that there is an "occupational segregation", as it has been called Cristina Antoñanzas, Deputy Secretary General of UGT. Traditionally they have filled care posts: health, education (72% of teachers are women) and social services. However, looking at other horizons seems to cost, among other reasons, because women still «Find important barriers to access occupations and activity sectors that are considered proper of men », criticizes Antoñanzas. "The labor market -continued- is still designed according to a masculinized pattern".
"Each gender is very polarized in the labor market," says researcher Felgueroso. And that has its consequences according to the economic moment that is lived. For example, "with the cuts in economic policies during the crisis, the health, education and social services sectors were severely affected, as was trade, which was affected by the drop in domestic consumption," according to Elena Blasco, secretary of Women and Equality of CC.OO. With this, many women entered the INEM offices.
However, they cushioned the crisis better. It was the masculine unemployment that increased intensely with waves of workers who arrived mainly from the construction. "During the crisis, female unemployment was less affected because more employment was destroyed in masculinized sectors, while in feminized sectors the destruction was smaller and slower," Antoñanzas explains.
Now, in full recovery, the opposite occurs. Unemployment in them drops very slowly, while in them it goes at a much higher rate. This has exposed another reality. There are still many women with low qualifications, engaged in services, hotels, tourism … where there is great competition, rotation and temporality. And women are the first to be expelled from the market. "Three out of four unemployed women are usually related to the service sector, being the only sector that won representation among female unemployment," says the general secretary of the IEE.
We must bear in mind that the labor market is a conglomerate of different generations. After getting women to enter university studies, the first cohorts of female doctors, teachers, psychologists … «The woman was incorporated to study higher careers oriented to her vocation. But their participation decreases in the technical areas, especially in engineering and technological careers, which are now the most demanded professions. And it is something that can not be explained because they have a greater degree of success than men in technical careers, "adds Guelbenzu.
Vocation of women in trades is also lacking. Companies have a high demand for VET professionals. "40% of job offers," continues Guelbenzu, "are for university graduates and another 40% for graduates in vocational training, but in this training there is a lack of women".
However, there is a fundamental challenge, as Almudena Semur explains: «The number of unemployed is lower the higher their educational level. However, there is always a progressive overrepresentation of unemployed women with respect to men as their educational level increases, especially among those with specialized studies ».
Everything will change with the incorporation of the new generations. «Our labor market is aging. The children of the baby boom are working and in those generations there were not so many women. When they leave the market, today's generations will arrive with many more women and more educated », Guelbenzu ventures.