Gendering Post-soviet space: Demography, Labor Market and Values in Empirical Research
This volume combines approaches from three disciplines – economics, sociology, and demography – and empirically analyzes the key aspects of the labor market and social demography processes in post-Soviet transitional societies while focusing on the gender perspective. Here, readers will find empirical studies on such countries as Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Estonia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The volume contributes to the literature by addressing the lack of academic empirical research on gender difference issues in the labor markets of post-Soviet countries as well as gender inequalities in fertility preferences, gender disparities among the youth and elderly, the gender pay gap, gender differences in employment, and female voices. The book brings together researchers of different disciplines from a variety of countries, distinguishing this project as international and interdisciplinary. The authors use the quantitative survey micro-data approach as well as the qualitative methods of interview data analysis to provide a comprehensive and detailed overview of the economic and social developments in the region regarding gender differences. The volume consists of three parts tackling the following topics: 1) gender differences and demography (family formation and fertility, youth and elderly employment); 2) gender differences and labor market (gender wage gap, motherhood wage penalty, gender differences among freelancers, and women in STEM science); and 3) gender differences, well-being, and gender equality attitudes (women’s voices, women’s collective actions, gender equality attitudes, and spending patterns of housewives).
Earning has been traditionally prescribed to male identity, while housekeeping management to the female. The opening of the labor market for women partly weakened gender inequality and the connection between gender and economic performance. However, that decision only opened a “male” economic role for all and kept the “female”-governing household expenditures underestimated. Based on the data of 37 in-depth interviews with middle-class housewives from Moscow, Russia, carried out between 2014-2019 using grounded theory methodology, the chapter reconstructs two lines of argumentation used by women to justify that management of household expenditures can be chosen as a main economic activity without the shame of failing modern gender standards. The first one is denoted as a “consumptive thrift” or “frugal approach.” It explains expenditures of a household as a form of saving and a way to obtain control over the family’s budget and needs. This approach uses economic rationality to suppress impulsive decisions and emphasize the similarity with actions of earning. The second logic is described as “consumption as social reproduction” or “abundant approach.” It points to the dissimilarity between female-driven spending to male earning. In this view, household expenditures make the family a domain of recovery, satisfaction, and relational work that is impossible without the satisfaction of desires.