Explaining Women's Employment Patterns in the Local Context: The Role of Education and Local Care Policies in Terrassa (Spain)
In the context of challenges posed by different work-family arrangements, using a multidimensional approach and as part of the European FLOWS FP7 research project, this paper examines variations across different groups of women in the way that contextual factors shape their labour supply. In particular, we propose to analyse from a qualitative methodological perspective how women’s education partly explains differential patterns with respect to employment, work-family balance and access to family help in the city of Terrassa (Spain). The analysis is based on information drawn from focus groups with different categories of women. Qualitative analysis is supplemented by the results of a survey conducted locally providing evidence of the relationship between employment and use of formal and informal care. The initial hypothesis is that women’s employment patterns over the family life course are closely linked to preferences regarding jobs and the family, with education and the local care system playing a key role as both a mediating and differentiating factor in the formation of these preferences and values.