Þóra Kristín Þórsdóttir

Þóra Kristín Þórsdóttir, PhD student, University of Iceland, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences

Email: thth116@hi.is

Gender roles and attitudes: The impact of the financial crisis
In October 2008 the Icelandic financial sector collapsed, thus starting what seems likely to become the most severe depression Iceland has experienced since before the Second World War. This shift from over-abundance to economic depression is something of a natural experiment in rapid and extensive social change with the potential to affect every aspect of social life. As such it offers a unique opportunity to study the effects of macro-structural factors on individuals as well as of individual agency on social developments.

The aim of the research is twofold. On the one hand we intend to assess the impact of the current economic crisis on gender roles at home and work. On the other hand we plan to study differences between the sexes in political values and societal priorities.

1) There are numerous reasons to expect these to be affected by the recession. Unemployment may change men’s participation in housework. Men’s employment often tends to become a priority at the expense of women’s employment when jobs are scarce. The overall effect may be a tighter labour market for women while increasing their workload within the home, leading to a more gendered division of labour.

2) Research indicates that women’s political views differ systematically from those of men while men’s views and interests are overrepresented in the policy-making process. The likely consequence is that reconstruction strategies will be gendered to men’s advantage. This will typically manifest in job-creation strategies but also in a wider range of policies.

Theoretically this is a study of structure and agency, focusing on the effects of macro-structural factors (recession) on women and moving from there to how women’s views and interests are represented in the reconstruction of the Icelandic economy.

Project Partner: REASSESS (www.reassess.no) is a 5-year Nordic project reassessing the Nordic Welfare Model in changed societal environments (with a grant from NordForsk). This project is a Nordic Centre of Excellence on Welfare State Research, based in Oslo, but with a strong participation from all the Nordic countries. Applicants are members of REASSESS and Stefan Olafsson is a steering group member of the REASSESS Center of Excellence.

Research Field and Areas: Economic sociology, Comparative Welfare State Research, Social Policy, Attitudes and Values
Keywords: Labour Market; Social responsibility; Gender roles, gender attitudes, gendered division of labour; Work-life balance; Socio-Economic Crisis and  Societal priorities; Welfare state and societal attitudes; Reconstruction strategies; Gender gap; Politics of recognition; Needs recognition; Social change.

Presentations and Publications