To mark International Women's Day, EAE Business School’s Madrid Campus was the venue for the presentation of the report “Women today: what women are like, what they think and how they feel”, drafted by Laura Sagnier, during a sabbatical period that she decided to take, with the pro bono support of PRM Market Intelligence. The aim of the research is to identify how women in our country feel and, as Laura Sagnier explains, the social phenomenon generated around 8th March provides the ideal background for understanding the conclusions drawn in the report.
First of all, the report is remarkable in terms of the breadth of its target sample: it represents 15 million adult women who are resident in Spain. To the same extent, it is an exceptionally in-depth study in terms of the aspects covered in relation to women’s lives: partners, children, paid work, unpaid work, family, friends and environment, as well as their degree of “happiness” in these aspects individually and as a whole.
The research has identified three key ages in women’s lives: 26 years old, their forties and their fifties. It focuses on what women think and feel as they grow older. In this respect, the 41-49 year old age group is identified as the most complicated age for women because, as Laura explained, “this is when the majority of women have now incorporated the three ‘fronts’ in their lives, namely paid work, cohabitation with a partner and children”. From their fifties onwards, some women decide to simplify their lives by sacrificing either paid work or cohabitation with a partner.
With respect to motherhood, “not all women experience it the same”. The research identifies three groups based on the way they feel with respect to this factor: “regretful” mothers (9%), “disenchanted” mothers (18%) and “fulfilled” mothers (73%). The first group states that, based on the information they now have, they would not have had children. The “disenchanted” mothers, who account for 18% of women, feel that they would have children if they lived their life over again, even though they have not been very happy being mothers.
In terms of paid work, the research examines the level of enthusiasm of women working on the market. For 42% of them, their job brings them nothing beyond their salary and they state that they would not work if they did not need the money. “Women’s happiness in this respect is very dependent on whether their job enables them to strike a good work-life balance. Women working as civil servants and self-employed creative professionals (craftswomen, photographers, etc.) rank as the “happiest”, perhaps because this allows them to strike this balance.
In cases of couples in which both the man and the women have a paid job, the majority of women play an active role in contributing to the family economy. However, more than half of the men in this situation continue to play a fairly passive role in terms of unpaid domestic tasks, to the extent that women perform 70% of household tasks, with the men only taking charge of the remaining 30%. “We are talking about a situation in which women bear almost twice the workload of their partner in relation to domestic tasks”, emphasizes Laura. As a result, many women are doubling their working day.
The situation of permanent and sustained imbalance faced by many women, between hours spent working and hours available for themselves, particularly when they have young children, ends up meaning that one out of every five women with professional experience prioritize their family over their paid work. Of the women who have prioritized their family before their profession, 60% completely “left” the labour market, while the remaining 40% “slowed it down” in some way.
The presentation of the report at the Madrid Campus received a really enthusiastic response from the School’s students and the media. Laura concluded by saying that “It is a social research project that gives us a clear snapshot of women’s situation and strives to increase the visibility of the problems that they face and to raise awareness throughout society of the fact that, although there has been some progress, there is still a road ahead of us”.