Reconciling Work and Family Care for Women : What Different Impacts on Working Carers and Care Workers ?

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:30 AM
Room: 302
Oral Presentation
Annie DUSSUET , UFR Sociologie, Université de Nantes, Nantes, France
Monique BIGOTEAU , CNRS Espaces et Sociétés, France
Pascal CAILLAUD , Droit et Changement Social (UMR 6297 CNRS), France
Béatrice CHAUDET , Université de Nantes, France
Carine PÉRIBOIS , MSH Ange Guépin, Nantes, France
Since the late1980s, French policies are intended to promote the development of household services, especially for children and elderly care, through social contribution exemptions or tax reductions. The main political discourse was to justify these policies both through the creation of jobs and the answer they provide to the needs of children and elderly care. But it was also said that these services help women to balance work and family care, as women are still the ones who mainly care for others in households.

This paper will examine the effects of these policies in terms of gender and social class: are the inequalities between men and women being diminished? and among women?

To answer these questions, we first use the results of researches conducted in the 2000s on the quality of employment in household services in France and secondly qualitative data obtained through the French part of european FLOWS program. On one hand, we show how public policies have resulted in a low quality of care jobs : care workers, who are almost only women, more often have part time jobs that provide them low wages and and are hardly reconcilable with their own family responsibilities. On the other hand, we also show how this low quality of care jobs results in poor quality of services available to women in employment, especially those with elderly dependent parents.
So this policy involved in a "job creation"quantitative perspective has perhaps helped to reduce the burden of care tasks for women already engaged in the labor market ; but it has not helped to reduce inequalities or progress towards equality between men and women or between women in employment.