One out of four women in Spain give up having children for their career

A study undertaken by IESE, in cooperation with Laboratorios Ordesa, in which Esther Jiménez, Dean of the Faculty of Education at UIC Barcelona, is the main researcher, has found that 28% of women in Spain have given up having children in order to advance their professional career.  The study, entitled “Maternidad y trayectoria profesional”, was presented yesterday in Madrid and is based on a questionnaire given out to 8.500 people. The majority of them were women between the age of 25 and 45, with children under 12. 

The study by Esther Jiménez, Dean of the Faculty of Education at UIC Barcelona, and Núria Chinchilla, director of the Centro Internacional I-WILL (IESE Leadership) analysed the factors which limit the full workplace development of employees who are mothers or potential mothers. According to the study, subtle sexism, the lack of an equal division of responsibilities in the home, the lack of institutional support for the family and maternity and rigid hierarchical structures in companies are some of the main obstacles that women have to face.

According to the research by these two professors, more than half of the men and women who filled in the questionnaires admitted having had less children than they had initially wanted. Specifically, it indicated that while in Spain the number of desired children is 2.52, on average people have 1.32 children. Also, there is a difference of almost one child between the number they would like to have and the number they eventually do have.

In the words of professor Chinchilla, “This study reflects the huge drama being experienced by many mothers or potential mothers who would like to have children and can’t or when they do have them don’t receive any support in the workplace”. Chinchilla also noted that these conclusions are “highly representative of what is happening in Spain, where there are no progressive policies to support maternity and the family”

Along these lines, in their study both the Dean of the Faculty of Education at UIC Barcelona and the professor from IESE talked about the need to eliminate the barriers which stop people from having the number of children they would like to in order to guarantee the “richness and sustainability of the country in the medium and long term”. “If we continue like this we will be unable to leave behind this demographic winter” they stated and gave France and the Nordic countries as an example of decades of family policy institutionalisation.