“Looking at Invisible Woman. the Experience of Housewifery in Contemporary Italy”

Saturday, July 19, 2014: 12:30 PM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Annalisa TONARELLI , Department of Political and Social Sciences -- Dsps, University of Florence, Florence, Italy
Franca Maria ALACEVICH , University of Florence, Florence, Italy
The contribution presents the outcomes of a research promoted by the Department of Political Science and Sociology, University of Florence. The aim of the research was to design an updated picture of nowadays housewives, as well as to investigate why so many Italian women still remain out of the labor market. In order to flush out a so “invisible” population, the research adopted a multiple methodology, reaching more than 500 women through online questionnaires, in deep interviews, meeting outside the malls and the schools, newspapers, blogs, etc. Outcomes show that the traditional label “housewife” is no more appropriate to describe a population more and more differentiated, with variable identities, personal histories, motivations and expectations.

The research investigate a high number of dimensions , nevertheless some of them (motivations, expectations, domestic life’s organization, role identification) allow to identify at least four different types: grateful housewives, aged women, who choose domestic life according to their traditional image of the family and firmly claim the value of their choice as well as a major social appreciation of the role of housewives; tailored housewives, aged women, who share a less traditional picture of the genders’ roles, has been employed and “adapted” to domestic life without represent themselves as only “housewives”; forced housewives, mainly women expelled by labor market, inactive because  discouraged, who experience domestic life as a sort of punishment and do not represent themselves as “housewives; temporary  housewives, generally younger and highly educated women who, considering the uncertainty of their professional life, invest in their family and consider their role of wives and mothers as moratorium, waiting for more favorable times in the labor market.