Partnerhood and Parenthood Among Poor Families and Social Policies in Salvador, Brazil

Thursday, 19 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Cristina GOMES, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, FLACSO Mexico, Mexico
In Brazil, most social policies deliver benefits to women with children (Lagard et al, 2007; Handa et al, 2006, Rasela et al, 2013; Rawlings & Rubio, 2005). In addition to material goods, such as money or home, there are goods that depend on the interpersonal or relational ties and relationships which the market can not offer. Relational goods are identity and motivation dependents, such as conjugality, paternity and motherhood, membership, mutual support, commitment, and self-reliance (Bruni, 2008; Becchetti et al, 2008, 2011); protection and care, which are largely provided by families, primarily by women, according to the patriarchal tradition.

Some authors assume that surrendering resources to women to promote children education and health could reinforce the domestic role of women and create marital conflicts such as gender-based violence. This research evaluates how social policies promote relational changes and modify women perceptions and aspirations, experiences and behaviours in domestic roles, conjugal and maternal relations. The qualitative methodology was adopted, applying ten interviews with women who are beneficiaries of policies, and three focus groups of men and women who are relatives, neighbours or friends of beneficiaries; the results are interpreted using discursive analysis. The results of interviews with women indicate that, in addition to the reduction of monetary poverty, these policies promote positive changes in marital and parental relationships, such as increased self-esteem and empowerment of women in financial decision-making, greater dialogue among partners and with children, negotiation skills and planning in relationships among spouses and children. However, the woman does not feel independente at all. Men who participated in focus groups coincide with women and indicated greater satisfaction with changes in women's self-esteem and fatherhood satisfaction after receiving benefits from programs. On the contrary, relations with neighbors can experience conflicts due to competition for scarce resources.