July 5 – 7, 2019
Sophia Fauser and Sonja Scheuring had the opportunity to present two papers, which are work-in-progress, at the International Sociological Association (ISA) Research Committee 06 (RC06) Family Research International Symposium on “Families Amidst Global and Local Processes: Economic, Political and Cultural Change” from July 5 – 7 at Rhodes Island, Greece. They were invited to start the first session (Friday, July 5) on “Effects of Economics and Inequality on Families” with one presentation on “Atypical Employment and the Reconciliation of Work and Family Life: An Empirical Analysis using Data from PAIRFAM” (Sophia) and “Job Insecurity and Well-Being within Families: A Panel Data Analysis for East and West Germany” (Sonja).
Sophia presented first empirical insights for the often raised argument in literature that women tend to voluntarily self-select into temporary employment because of its flexible character. This supposed flexibility of temporary jobs is believed to allow women to more easily reconcile work and family responsibilities. Such claims are especially widespread in studies on the career consequences of temporary employment to explain the finding that women suffer less severe consequences from temporary jobs when compared to men. For men, temporary employment is rather seen as involuntary and a bad signal to future employers. Her focus of the analysis of the PAIRFAM (Panel Analysis of Intimate Relationships and Family Dynamics) is twofold: first she investigated if women who expect to have family responsibilities soon are more likely to start their career with a fixed-term job. Second, she investigated if temporary jobs truly offer more flexibility in terms of the reconciliation of work and family life. Her results show, unexpectedly, that highly educated women with strong fertility intentions are more likely to start their career with a fixed-term job, but that these jobs are not more flexible compared to standard jobs.
Sonja’s paper addresses the question of whether there are gendered spillover effects of job insecurity, i.e. fixed-term employment on well-being within families, i.e. one partner’s employment status influences the other partner’s well-being. Germany seems to enable an interesting case study as within one country there are two differing family regimes – a rather liberal family regime for East Germany and a conservative regime for West Germany. She analyses the research question by utilizing data from the German Socio Economic Panel study (SOEP) from 1994 – 2017, which enables analyses on both (heterosexual) partners as it is a household panel. She finds that the quality of jobs does not seem to matter much to the individuals, but rather to have a job versus being unemployed. In line with that, there are only spillover effects for male partners changing from being unemployed into being fixed-term employed on the female well-being. Interestingly, the analyses give first hints that the spillover effects seem to be more important for individuals who are socialized in East Germany rather than in West Germany, which contradicts the expectations.
Thanks to the greatly organized symposium and especially the more than 30 researchers who attended the presentations and gave valuable feedback, we can now further improve our SECCOPA project research within the household-integrative and the gendered perspective!