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LABOUR FORCE SURVEY
TIME USE SURVEY
The aim is to show that only an integrated approach to these data makes the contribution of Italian women to the economy more visible
Italy’s situation relative to the labour market is still strongly gender differentiated
The level of participation in the labour market is among the lowest ones in Europe (equal to 62.5 percent).
In 2005, only Malta and Hungary presented a participation level lower than Italy’s.
The gap between Italy and the other countries mainly involves the female component of itspopulation.
As regards employment too, differences between Italy and the rest of Europe interest almost exclusively women.
For women, the difference between Europe’s and Italy’s employment rate reaches 11 percentage points. Italy’s female employment rate indeed equals 45.3 percent, that is, higher only to that registered for Malta.
Consequently, the female employment rate is still very distant from the European average, despite the growth registered in the last years
Who are the women who have trouble in entering the labour market or in remaining in it?
The family context strongly influences the presence of women in the labour market:
Data on the time daily devoted to paid work confirm a strong gender difference: on an average day, employed men devote 6h03’ to paid work while employed women dedicate 4h28’ to it.
In addition, women spend more time working when they have no family workload, and thus when they are single or live at home with their parents. The fact of living with a partner and, especially, having children, indeed involves a decrease in the time dedicated to paid work.
Graph 1 - Time devoted by employed women to paid work by family role
If they work less, do they have more time for themselves, or simply free time?
Graph 2 - Time devoted by employed people to unpaid work by gender and family role on an average day
In Europe, the Italian women have the greatest household workload
Swedish women have the least
Even among the employed women, the unpaid workload is greater in Italy
Italian men dedicate less time than other European men to housework and care activities and more to paid work
The 77% of time dedicated to unpaid work by both partners is charged on women
The total workload (paid and unpaid) is much higher for women, and that in all the days of the week and in all the family situations.
Graph 3 -Time for total work (paid and unpaid) of employed people living as partners in couple with children by gender and type of day
Even for part-time female workers, work remains the main activity.
Paid work is simply substituted with household work while the recovery of free time is still contained.
Women who work part-time have only 34 minutes more of total time free from work than those who work full-time.
Graph 4 - Time devoted by women in couple with children to (paid and unpaid) work by working hours
In Italy the traditional role division has persisted: men invest more in paid work and women take care of most of the household work, even when they have entered the labour market and must deal with a work overload that is difficult to manage.
With such work overload, unsurprisingly more than two millions of inactive women (18,3% of inactive women), justify their condition exclusively with family reasons.
Very often family reasons are indicated also by non-employed women who have stopped working (32.7% of the total).
The necessity of taking care of the children is the most frequent reason for inactivity or for leaving the labour market, given by Italian women from all generations, young and less young.
The amount of unpaid work in Italy and its consequences on the female participation to the labour market makes more important the estimate of a satellite account, which assigns an economic value to the productive activities performed by households and, in particular, by Italian women.
In practical terms, regular official statistics of unpaid work and production don’t exist and the knowledge of the economic value of the households’ value added seems difficult to gain and to compare.
Anyway in Italy we are very interested in the building of a satellite account and we are starting to work on this subject, thanks also to a project involving Istat economic and social researchers and some academic experts.
The data presented up until now are the result of an integrated analysis of two different sources.
A new approach
The awareness of the strong inter-relations between the two surveys has given rise to an experiment of statistical matching which is being carried out in collaboration with the University of Trieste.
The aim of such matching is to create a synthetic archive of both surveys at a micro level in order to study the relations between the specific variables of each survey.
In particular, the aggregates object of attention could include the “grey area” (mostly made up of women), that is a group of persons that do not officially result in search of a job from a strictly definition point of view but that “gravitate” very closely to the unemployment area.
The grey area notoriously represents a context of strategic analysis for the work policies, as it represents an area of possible intervention that would help raise the level of participation.
This area of inactivity can be observed from the viewpoints that the Time Use Survey proposes (budget time, perceived quality of life and of lifetimes) and that could be explored even through the innovative methodological approaches.