2021/02/23

45. Women´s Quality of Labour, Social Visibility and Quality of Life. Euro-American Report year 2020




Here we present a short version of section 4 of the article by Guisan and Aguayo(2020)

4. Quality of Labour, female social visibility and quality of life.

4.1. Quality of labour and its impact on quality of life

     Women workers lifes are sometimes more stressed than lifes of men workers, due to the problems to conceal family life and labour hours. The consequence is that women workers usually have fewer hours of leisury activities per week. In spite of that, the majority of women are happy to find a job, with quality of labour, not only because paid work provides some degree of income and independence, but also because it allows to develop social and personal values and, in many cases, also vocational jobs.

      Quality of labour is an important part of quality of life. It is interesting to know the evolution for the period 2007-2019. Besides the diminution of average wage for the period 2009-2019 some indicators show that other aspects of quality of labor (stability, opportunities, good environment, flexibility of hours, etc.) seem to have diminished. There has been an increase of presentialism and a diminution of opportunities for tele work in many public and private employments. In year 2020 with the pandemia, there has been an important increase of tele work, which diminishes the travel time to work, increases flexibility and helps to conceal family and labor lifes.

   The problems of conciliation of family life and working life is common in many countries, particularly for women with little children. Availability of public services for children care, family help (from husband, parents or other relatives) or the affordability to pay for private services are of great help but not always are easy to find for many women.

    Indicators in EU28: Perez-Ortiz et al (2020b) present an interesting graph for Female Global Index (horizontal axis) and Male Global Index (vertical axis) and draw the bisector in the first quadrant in 23 European Union countries. We highlight the following results od the Global Index of quality of labour by gender:

 1) At the bottom, with Index below 50 for Female and below 55 for Male Employment: Greece, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Hungary, Slovakia, Spain and Italy. 

2) A second group with Index highet than 50 and below 60 for women and below 65 for men: Czech R, Portugal, Germany, France, Ireland, UK, Luxembourg, Slovenia and Belgium. 

3) A third group, with the highest values of the Global Index of quality of labour includes 5 countries with both Female and Male Indexes between 60 and 70: Belgium, Austria, Finland, Denmark and Sweden. 4) The coordinates of most of countries are over the bisector of the first quadrant, as to say the quality of labor is usually higher for men than for women.


4.2 Social visibility of notable women

As seen in Guisan, Aguayo and Exposito (2011), and other studies, there are several interesting articles on the Female difficulties to reach opportunities of promotion and visibility particularly in several environments of traditional Male power. Here we can add information about several problems and some interesting initiatives.

 1) Newspapers, radios and televisions.

 In year 2008 only 6% of women in interviews to professional experts and 10% to political members. Only 21% of opinion journalists, accordingly to the II report ColumnistAs, by Plann. In the ColumnistA study, prepared by the consulting firm Planner Media with the support of the Federation of Associations of Journalists of Spain (FAPE), where it analyzes more than 3,000 pieces of opinion with about 1,500 different columnists, from 26 media outlets, it shows that Only 21% of the opinion columns published by the Spanish media are signed by women and, in the case of opinion columns dedicated to scientific issues, the percentage signed by women drops to 7%.

A study financed by the Women´s Departament of the Autonomuys Community of Madrid, Mateos de Cobo et al (2007) published an analysis of digital press in Spain regarding gender stereotips.

For the last decades, a greater number of women journalists interested on Female visibility, as well as an increasing number of men, has contributed to changes in the contents of newspapers and other means of communication, with more interviews or news on outstanding women in fields of science, literature, economy, politics, and other ones. But already there is the feeling of "being invisible" for many notable women.

2) Associations that support Women in Science, Tecnology, and Executive positions.

The visibility of women in any area of ​​society and particularly in those of research and technology is an aspect of great importance to refute the false argument that "there are no women" or "there are no brilliant women" in the different fields of knowledge (Lopez et al, 2020). .

3) Encyclopedias and texbooks.

     The presence of women in Encyclopedias and Bibliographic Dictionaries is usually very low, with percentages of 6% or below in many fields, where they have had a remarkable higher activity. Although there are a few publications that collect biographies of some relevant women they usually are not available in internet at a low cost or free.

     The scarce inclusion of relevant women in Wikipedia is analyzed in the interesting academic article by Li(2020) and in outstanding articles in newspapers and blogs.

      Noan Cohen(2011) have published an interesting article in the New York Times (NYT) about the gender gap in contributors lists of Wikipedia:

Define Gender Gap? Look Up Wikipedia’s Contributor List. "According to the OpEd Project, an organization based in New York that monitors the gender breakdown of contributors to “public thought-leadership forums,” a participation rate of roughly 85-to-15 percent, men to women, is common — whether members of Congress, or writers on The New York Times and Washington Post Op-Ed pages. It would seem to be an irony that Wikipedia, where the amateur contributor is celebrated, is experiencing the same problem as forums that require expertise."

Sue Gardner(2011).She was the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation from December 2007 until May 2014, and has written the interesting article at her Blog related with the publication by Norma Cohen:

Nine Reasons Women Don’t Edit Wikipedia (in their own words). We list the 9 reasons in the Annex, and we highlight reason 4 and 9 as important not only for explain the gender gap in contributions to the Encyclopedia but also the gender gap in the biographical contents of notable women. Reason 4) is "Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because they are conflict-averse and don’t like Wikipedia’s sometimes-fighty culture". Reason 9) is "Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because social relationships and a welcoming tone are important to them, and Wikipedia offers fewer opportunities for that than other sites".

      Shlomit Lir (2020), also points to the unfriendly environment that many women find when they wish to include, in Wikipedia, contents related with women, in the article:

Strangers in a seemingly open-to-all website: the gender bias in Wikipedia Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: "Findings – The findings show that having the will to edit and the knowledge of how to edit are necessary but insufficient conditions for women to participate in Wikipedia. The finding reveals two categories: pre-editing barriers of negative reputation, lack of recognition, anonymity and fear of being erased; and post-editing barriers of experiences of rejection, alienation, lack of time and profit and ownership of knowledge. The research suggests a “Vicious Circle” model, displaying how the five layers of negative reputation, anonymity, fear, alienation and rejection – enhance each other, in a manner that deters women from contributing to the website"

     Although Wikipedia has very good contributors, male and female, in many topics, the question is that the rules for contributors are not all good, and they should be improved in order to avoid lack of protection for women, or other contributors, when they find hostility barriers to publish qualified and interesting contents.

     In biographic Encyclopedias and textbooks, the presence of women is usually very scarce and clearly below their professional, artistic or scientific activity. Accordingly.

     An study by López-Navajas(2014) from the University of Valencia, presents data of female protagonism by subject of study in Secondary Education textbooks in Spain and show that only 7.5% of the referents in those text book are women.

3) Blogs and twitter: initiatives for women visibility.

An interesting initiative from Lydia Gil is her Blog of social media investigation : https://socialmediaeninvestigacion.com/mujeresdivulgadoras-edicion3

It is an interesting initiative for visibiligy of women communicators in Sciences (natural Sciences, Social sciencias and other fields). She also contributes to the women visibility on radio program "Ones of science". In the Annex we will include other Blogs.

It is worth highlighting initiatives such as the Women with Science blog, from the Chair of Scientific Culture of the University of the Basque Country, which tries to give greater visibility to women who contributed and contribute to progress in different scientific and technological fields, linked to STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics).

In the field of social sciences, the Women in Economics network formed in 2019 from the twitter account @mujereseneco addresses the objective of promoting presence in the public debate (conferences, talks, discussion tables, courses, media or discussion forums) of experts from different professional areas of the economic world. With initiatives in social networks such as #unaeconomistapordia with which, a relevant woman in the area of ​​Economics is presented with a brief description of her area of ​​specialization or some of her most relevant works.

In May 2018 @siconmujeres was born as an initiative promoted by male economists to end the discussion round tables where male representatives are often exclusive. In the same line of avoiding expert panels with none women, or little female presence, the Office of the European Parliament in Spain launched the initiative # DondeEstánEllas, which has been signed by several entities.

4) Leadership in Universities, Scientific Academics and Prizes:

 In the study of EUA(2017) on women in leadership positions in European universities. The results show that in 47 countries with EUA members, only 12% of all rectors are female. The maximum is a third of Rectors in Sweden, Norway and Finland, and the minimum below 11% Spain, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Czec Republic, Turkey and Italy.

Women economists in Prizes: the presence of women is below the percentage of their contributions to Economics. Not only the Nobel Prize organization has shown a Male preference, but also in national prizes, as in the case of Spain, as follows:

  Prize of General Council of Economists (Consejo General de Economistas, CGE, in Spanish): In 20 Prizes for years 2001-2018 only 1 was for a female economicst (5%).

  Prize Queen Juan Carlos: In 20 years, 1986-2006, all Prizes for men (0% women)

   Prize Rey Jaime: In 20 years 1997-2016 all Prizes for men (0% for women)

Acccordingly to Ideas-Repec, an important international net of Economics research, theres is a percentage around 25% of Female economists (more than 14000 women out of more than 55000 total economists). Among the top 100 Spanish members of this academid net, there are 21 women economists. A list of names may be seen in Guisan(2018). Women economists at Spanish Universities currently they represent around 40% of intermediate teachers and researchers and 20% of Full Professors. Given this women activity in Economics research it seems that they should appear at least in 20% of Economic Prizes.

4) Businesswoman and executives. There is an increase of initiatives, from Associations, to increase female visibility in the business and professional firms, in engineering, architecture, art and other fields.

5) Women in political positions.

    In year 2007, Spanish socialist government approved a Law named "Organic Law of effective equality of women and men" ruling a minimun of 40% of each gender in electoral lists. Thanks to this law the percentage of Women in National and Regional Assemblies varies in Spain usually between 40 and 50, which is higher than in Italy (between 0 and 29), close to France (44 and 51), higher than in Germany (between 24 and 40) and the United Kingdom (28 and 42), as seen in EAGLE(2019).  In local political representations in Spain, the newspaper El Mundo indicates 30% majors of cities and villages 35% local councillors.

       The question in Spanish politics is not only the percentage of women in national or regional Parliaments, but a low level of internal democracy in many political parties, and excess of Male power concentration in decision making at the top of the parties. The usual voting discipline in Parliaments, following the orders of the political leader, without internal democracy in the party, indicates a low level of democracy and gives to the majority of representatives (male of female) scarce power in decision making of their votes. Women at the top of political parties are very often chosen because they are supporters of the male leaders,

4.3. Subjetive indexes of life satisfaction

     When asked to rate their general satisfaction with life on a scale from 0 to 10, people on average across the OECD gave it a 6.5. Life satisfaction is not evenly shared across the OECD however. Some countries – Greece, Hungary, Portugal and Turkey – have a relatively low level of overall life satisfaction, with average scores of 5.5 or less. At the other end of the scale, scores reach 7.5 in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland

     Quality of life it is very much related with employment, real wage, real production per capita, quality of labor conditions but also with female participation in economic and social life, quality of Government and other variables. Generally, the educational level of population has a positive impact on the quality of many of these factors.

       Eurostat (2019) points: "When looking at low, medium and high shares of overall life satisfaction, the differences between men and women remain low. 15.3 % of male respondents stated that they have a low level of life satisfaction, in comparison to 17.0 % of females. On the other hand, 25.6 % of males and 25.2 % of females had a high rating of life satisfaction in 2018".

     OWID(2020) presents a graph, not by gender, of life satisfaction in several countries with data from Eurobarometer(2017).

 The top positions of this group of 5 European coutnries correspond to  the United Kingdom and Germany, while France is an intermediate position between both countries and the lower values are those of Italy and Spain.

More information, in the article 

Guisan, M.C., Aguayo, E. (2020). Employment and Quality of Life of Women in Spain: Evolution 1970-2020 and International Comparisons, Applied Econometrics and International Development Vol. 20-2. Abstract

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