From Career Women to Working Mothers. New Inequalities in Family/Work Arrangements for Italian Lawyers.

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
TW1.3.02 (Tower One)
Annalisa Tonarelli, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Florence, Italy
Franca Alacevich, Department of Political and Social Sciences, Florence, Italy
Recent data on labor market participation of graduated women show that in Italy “baby boomers” generation is significantly more active than the “millenaries” one. Several factors may help to explain this phenomenon: first of all, the challenge of family/work arrangements, much more difficult for the new generations of graduated Italian women; moreover, the increase of non-standard works, the decrease of job opportunities in a labor market in trouble; etc.

In our paper, based on a recent research, we propose to look at the link between personal and professional life "by the profession" (Lapeyre, 2006). From this point of view, women lawyers represent an interesting case of study (Tremblay, Moscova 2013). A wide survey realized on members of Florence Bar Association during 2013 allows to analyze in depth family/work reconciliation strategies through online questionnaires and biographical interviews to women lawyers of different generations.

In last decades the number of lawyers in Italy rose dramatically. Meanwhile, the profession changed deeply in term of gender and social composition, generational differences, new specializations and internal competition. Younger lawyers – especially women – suffered of a “proletarianization” process, in terms of earning, services available with not enough money, long time in order to achieve a solid professional status as well as unlimited time requested by the professional ethos (Fusulier 2011). Unlike lawyers of previous generation - who were few, upper class, and better-paid - young professionals cannot afford the costs of nannies looking at their children night and day. But it is not only a question of money. The investment of time in motherhood and childcare is now seen, more than in the past, as a way of reaching the self-realization difficult to acquire in the labor market.

The analysis is specifically focused on the sub-group of criminal lawyers, highlighting the consequences of the growing and unexpected feminization recently occurred. Even if criminal specialization still shows a gender divide, women represent now 40% of the Criminal Chamber of Florence. Results allow to highlight how actually women manage in order to become part of a community strongly male-oriented and how their presence promotes a change in the profession’s social practices.