PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT
Population and Economics 1(1): 89-116, doi: 10.3897/popecon.1.e36034
PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES AND DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT
expand article infoIrina Kalabikhina
‡ Faculty of Economics of Lomonosov Moscow State University, Russia
Open Access
Abstract
The article is devoted to documenting factors of discrimination of women and men in Moscow’s labour market, related to the presence of parental responsibilities and to the analysis of the opinions of Moscovites on the possibility of combining parental and professional responsibilities. The empirical basis for the research were semi-structured interviews (61 semi-structured interviews, 28 cases of discrimination are described, 22 of which are related to the presence of parental responsibilities) taken between 2013 and 2016 in Moscow, as well as interviews with experts. The types of discriminatory behaviour of employers towards pregnant women and women with small children have been identified ("requests" to resign at their own accord; the payment of "fiat" money only from declared salary; payment of "protection" money for dismissal; agreement on early departure from childcare leave; creation of conditions for women to be extruded after returning to work; enterprise restructuring and using this as an excuse to deny the provision of the corresponding position), as well as discriminatory practices in relation to fathers with small children when their desire to perform parental responsibilities manifests itself and discrimination of young women in employment (as workers with perspective parental responsibilities). Downward trends in the social protection of pregnant women over the past year and a half due to the economic crisis have been noted. Positive legislative changes to reduce discrimination and increase the opportunities for women with children in the labour market (adopted in 2013-2014) have been found to be insufficient to create an enabling environment for employees with parental responsibilities. A study on the attitudes of women and men towards gender roles in the labour market and in the family, the actual possibilities of combining parental and professional responsibilities, has also revealed that discrimination of parents in the labour market was based on widespread gender stereotypes (of employees and employers) that constitute a barrier to the harmonious reconciliation of the professional and family roles of women and men. Employers’ inclination to discriminate workers with parental responsibilities depends on age and the presence of children (employees with small children are in the worst position, in the best – those with children of a senior age as compared to childless, as the most reliable and responsible), which underlines the traditional nature of the structure of gender attitude.Among the young educated informants, there have been (so far rare) cases of modernized attitudes towards the family-work balance, based on a belief in the possibility of full and highly professional female employment combined with motherhood (as opposed to traditional Russian gender attitudes on "the need to have a job that does not interfere with family matters"). The most modernized area is the information technology sector, to a lesser extent - the finance industry. The most traditional one is the sector of education (services). At the same time, the IT industry has barriers and opportunities to combine professional and parental responsibilities.The majority of female informants demonstrated a combination of traditional gender attitudes and employment orientation. The origins of this combination are the memory of generations or the "habit of working"; insurance behaviour in the face of the economic crisis and demographic losses; modernization processes; the "dream of a housewife"; renaissance of patriarchal relations in the Russian society.
Keywords
discrimination against parents in the labour market; parental responsibilities; gender stereotypes; family-work balance; modernization and traditionalism