Gender Role Attitudes in Mediterranean Countries: Does a Common Pattern Really Exist?

Thursday, 14 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 30 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Malina VOICU, GESIS Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Germany
Vera LOMAZZI, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Italy
Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain are usually considered as a homogenous group in research focused on family and gender issues. According to the existing literature, the four countries, referred as ‘Mediterranean countries’, share a common family pattern characterized by patriarchal family values and preference for male breadwinner – woman homemaker family model. However, several factors challenge this assumption and call into question the true homogeneity of the attitudes towards family and gender roles in these four countries. There are several different factors that may lead to variation in family pattern and gender division of work in these countries, such as the main religious denomination (Orthodox in Greece and Catholic in the other three countries), the level of societal secularization, or family policies. The current paper investigates the homogeneity of the way in which gender roles are understood by the citizens of the four Mediterranean countries and the reliability of the scales used by Eurobarometer surveys to measure this concept. The paper uses data from Eurobarometer 2009, 2011, and 2014 that covers the four countries and tests for measurement invariance of the scales taping attitudes towards gender roles in both private and public area. The results of Multigroup Confirmatory Factor Analysis point out the existence of a common homogenous definiton of gender roles in public area, while in case of private area the common pattern is missing. In case of the scale tapping attitudes towards gender roles in public area confirgral invariance and partial metric invariance are achieved. Configural invariance is not achieved for the scale measuring attitudes towards gender roles in private area. The results point out that the understanding of gender roles is not homogenous in the four Mediterranean countries and cross-countries comparisons based on survey data should be considered with caution.