Changing Family Models: Emerging New Opportunities for Fathers in Catalonia (Spain)?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 11:10 AM
Room: 315
Oral Presentation
Lluis FLAQUER , Department of Sociology, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Cerdanyola del Valles, Spain
Almudena MORENO MINGUEZ , Department of Sociology and Social Work, University of Valladolid, Segovia, Spain
Anna ESCOBEDO , Department of Sociology and Organisational Analysis, Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain

In the ongoing debate on changing family models as a result of the decline of the male breadwinner family model, the main focus has generally been placed on a possible shift towards a dual, full-time, adult worker model with a more equal gender balance and where fathers are expected to devote more time to the care of children (Lewis, Campbell and Huerta, 2008; Daly, 2011). On the other hand, in a context of growing family diversity less attention has been paid to the emergence of other work-family arrangements with emerging opportunities for fathers’ dedication to their children. This is the case of couples with children in which both partners are unemployed or where the potential breadwinner is a woman.

In the present contribution, in the framework of a research project under way on father involvement in the care of children, we are trying to explore the characteristics and profiles of these families with a special emphasis on the changing role of fathers, in an institutional context where new social policies of fatherhood are being developed in the last decade. Using data from ECVHP 2011, a regional social survey whose basic structure has recently been harmonized with EU-SILC, the paper examines the extent to which soaring male unemployment rates, in connection with other social and economic factors, are shaping new patterns of allocation of time involving a more equitable sharing of childcare and of domestic tasks between partners. What can be the long term consequences of these new developments for gender balance and for the relationships between fathers and children? Are these new arrangements here to stay as emerging new opportunities for fathers or will they fade away as soon as there is an economic recovery?