9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN33 Women's and Gender Studies

2009-09-05 15:30:00 2009-09-05 17:00:00 Saturday, 5 September 15:30 - 17:00 Trans-national Migrations and Migrant's Families Building II, C4.01

Families and Migrants on the Foundations of the Spanish Welfare State. A Diversion towards Informality in the Carework for Dependent People

The aim of this paper is to analyze the role of public policies towards dependency in Spain and their impact on the emergence of an informal economy of care services. Thus, we will study the legal basis of social protection towards old age, more specifically, the Promotion of Personal Autonomy and Care for the People in the Situation of a Dependency 39/2006 Act. A particular emphasis will be also put on the link existing between the Spanish economic and welfare models in the context of the European Union.

Within a context of demographic ageing and progressive incorporation of women into the formal labour market, the demand for employment in the sector of in-home care services is growing considerably, and the institutional response does not question its familistic nature. The recent approval of the so-called Dependency Act brought to light in the public debate the prominent role played by families in the provision of carework. Despite this public appreciation of the importance of informal care within the family, this legal text relapses into the familistic approach to carework, as well as into the privatization of the provision of care services. Hence, a double-sided informal diversion of carework occurs. On one hand, the strengthening of the traditional solution of assuming carework by women within the family. And, on the other hand, the commodification of this reproductive work by means of hiring female migrants.

The growing proportion of aged persons and the apparent future trend of reduction in the migratory flows coming to Spain set us in the most likely situation of an imbalance between the supply and demand in the provision of care services. In order to estimate this imbalance, we will use the "potential index of female carer" (as employed by OECD, 1994), applied to a projection of the Spanish population based on the cohort-component projection method with a horizon 2031.

An analysis of secondary data related to the public provision of care services and to female participation in the workforce will also be considered. Finally, information gathered from in-depth interviews with family and migrant carers will be employed.