Family Life Survey: Working Mexican Women Have More Influence at Home
Blair Shiff - KUSA
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June 21, 2014

The Mexican Family Life Survey, used for the study, interviewed participating couples once in 2002 and again between 2005 and 2007. The survey results include 9,551 household observations.

The Mexican Family Life Survey is one of the first of its kind to ask about bargaining power - who actually makes household decisions - as opposed to simply exploring the differences between what females and males tend to do with allocated resources.

It also provides a valuable set of data because families were revisited and provided information on their fluctuating employment and unemployment circumstances. Responses over time thereby yielded insight into changes in decision-making power due to employment and despite any unobservable factors, such as a high regard for egalitarianism or respect for women.

Participating individuals self-identified as "head of household" or "spouse." Virtually all of the participating households - 97 percent - were headed by men, according to the respondents.

About 67 percent of the households reported that the spouse - the woman - was involved in decisions regarding large expenditures. About 31 percent reported that heads of households alone made the decisions.

In addition to answering questions about household roles, bargaining power and employment status, couples stated their education levels, ages and household sizes in the survey.

"Anytime we are making it easier for women to participate in employment activities, just as men do, we can also expect them to actually have greater influence within their households," Antman said. "And so it's not just a question of increasing their income, but actually increasing their influence over their own lives."

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