Addressing Social Justice Issues Around the Economic Crisis in Spain

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 6:00 PM
Room: Booth 54
Oral Presentation
Gerardo ZAMORA , Universidad Pública de Navarra, Spain
Against the backdrop of a deep economic and financial crisis worldwide, welfare regimes in countries of the European Union are undergoing drastic changes driven by austerity policies. In the case of Spain, such changes affect an already weak welfare state and the large support networks woven around the family. Extreme unemployment rates, weaker job security conditions or rising poverty rates coexist with recent, dramatic changes in values around the family, gender roles or individuals’ rights.

Given its length, it is feasible to expect that the crises may be influencing changes in the country’s demographic dynamics and its value system. This presentation will touch upon three aspects. Firstly, a question on whether the crisis is affecting births. Recent research in other countries suggests a reversal in the traditional pattern of childless in women: now less educated women are more likely to stay childfree/childless than the more educated (studies on men and childlessness keep being less abundant, though). Moreover, research findings from European countries suggest low fertility may be correlated to unemployment risk and job insecurity. How are births being affected in Spain? Secondly, an inquiry on how older never-married women and men, regardless of their sexual behaviour or identity, are facing difficulties due to the crisis. Within a familial welfare regime, never-married older individuals (and some childfree ones) build support networks in a slightly different fashion than do parents/married older adults. Such networks tend to be more diverse, but also more vulnerable to health/dependency negative events. Thirdly, a question on whether salient social justice issues are being dealt with or not when looking at the two previous points: is becoming a parent a choice increasingly being reserved for the more educated and privileged individuals? Are childfree/childless and never-married individuals suffering cumulative inequalities just for the still prevailing stigma of such conditions?