The labour complementarity between female international migration and national women in Spain from a gender perspective

Elena Vidal-Coso, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Spain has recently experienced an extraordinary increase and acceleration of its immigrant flows. Contrasting with previous flows arriving in Western Europe, this new immigration is composed by approximately 50% of female population. In a context of a segmented labour market and of an increase of female labour participation, this recently arrived women has filled those more precarious labour positions of the “secondary labour segment”, allowing to young national female generations to occupy more skilled and stable occupations, according with their educational level. Therefore, nationality is a key element in order to understand the labour and social positions that women occupy in Spain. Using the Spanish Labour Force from 1999 to 2006, this article compares foreign and national women distribution within the Spanish labour market. The hypothesis is that the demand of immigrant women in the Spanish labour market is a response to the improvement of the educational and socio-economic position of young female generations in Spain. Analysis demonstrates that young native women prefer more skilled jobs. Those traditional female labour positions, such as domestic services or other personal services, are now reserved for immigrant women. As so on, these women suffer a triple discrimination in the new society: class, gender and ethnic group discrimination. Firstly, a descriptive analysis about the labour characteristics of national and foreign female population is carried out. Their labour experience is described analysing different aspects like: Economic Activity, Employment Status, Industry sectors, Socio-economic group, and percentage of people working in Permanent or Temporary work. Secondly, using explanatory models, through logistic regression analysis, the article tries to prove the hypothesis that differentials in the labour attainment of national and foreign women are not only due to personal characteristics (sex, educational levels, etc.) but also to their national identity. Keywords: Feminine immigration, labour complementarity, social promotion, Spain.

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Presented in Session 8: Female and Male Migration

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