August 5, 2020

The extra hours that women perform at home equals 8.9% of GDP | Society



"How difficult it is to become a woman at 80 years old". With this phrase of his father, who after a life working away from home discovered, when he was widowed, what it costs to take a home, illustrated Marieta Jiménez, president of the Merck pharmaceutical company in Spain and the business platform ClosinGap, the value of some tasks that millions of women perform in an invisible and free way. A job that women spend an average of four and a half hours a day, two hours more than men, a total difference of 49.5 million hours a day that, if quantified economically at market price, would amount to more than 100,000 million euros per year, equivalent to 8.9% of GDP in 2017 (construction contributed 10.6%, for example), according to a report presented on Monday.

These two hours of extra work in the home and in the care of children, elderly and sick would also contribute to public administrations, between taxes and social contributions, 39,659 million euros. "In couples with children, this time difference is extended to 2.53 hours a day, which distances us from reference countries such as Sweden, where it is in 35 minutes", explained during the presentation Diego Vizcaíno, partner of International Financial Analysts (AFI), authors of the report Opportunity cost of the gender gap in conciliation.

To make the economic estimate of this additional female work time in Spain, men and women older than 16 have been taken, both occupied and not, since, according to the data, the gender gap in these tasks occurs independently of the employment situation. In calculating the gross salary cost to reach 100,000 million euros, the cost in the domestic services market has been taken, on the one hand (about nine euros per hour), and that of caregivers of dependent children and adults (between 10 and 12 euros per hour).

The study also highlights how "the uniqueness of the Spanish split day" reduces by one hour a day the free time available to workers with this schedule, 40% of those employed. In total, "1,706 million hours that we no longer have per year for personal or family purposes," according to Vizcaíno. This data, together with the "lack of synchronization" between work and school hours, both daily and annually, with a gap of 35 working days without school, makes family conciliation difficult. The result, that in the majority of the occasions, women sacrifice their working life to solve these problems: 24% of employed women worked part-time in 2017 (compared to 7% of men), an option that " in the Spanish market it is not voluntary, as it happens in other countries, but it occurs when there is not a fit of the full day that allows reconciliation ", said Vizcaíno.

The AFI partner has highlighted how, although men and women express in the surveys a similar preference in the number of children they wish to have, the reality is that they perceive that having children affects their careers more negatively. "After concluding the maternity leave, 5% of women decide to leave the labor market, and 3% return with a part-time job." The opportunity cost for the Spanish economy of these outflows amounts to 40 million hours not worked per year, that is, they stop generating about 1,280 million euros annually, according to the report, promoted by Repsol as a member of ClosinGap, a Cluster of 11 companies set up to analyze the impact of the gender gap.

"It's a subject of focus: who has decided that the work has to do with dinners, coffees, being more hours or doing networking What about the effectiveness? "said Marieta Jiménez, president of this platform whose members (apart from Merck and Repsol, are Mapfre, Vodafone, Meliá, L'Oréal, Mahou, Solán de Cabras, BMW, Inditex and PwC), add up 800,000 workers. "Missing women's talent has a brutal economic impact in this country. Closing this gap would result in a much healthier economy, "he said.

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