The support of women to administrative tasks

Yasmine Siblot, ” I am the secretary of the family ! “The support of women in the administrative tasks between subordination and resource, Geneses, 2006

An article very stimulating Yasmine Siblot, which complements the analysis of Olivier Schwartz, Richard Hoggart and Bernard Lahire on the reports of female and male writing tasks of the home.

The work of Richard Hoggart and then by Olivier Schwartz have shown the importance of women in the management of administrative tasks within the working-class families traditional. In the district of Leeds observed by R. Hoggart, (The Culture of the poor, 1957), between the years 1930 and 1950, it is the mothers who suffer the long queues at the counters, and the contempt of the employees. In the large set of studies by O. Schwartz (The private world of the workers, 1990) in the 1980s, the role of the “Mother” is pivotal in the management of the relations with the institutions. This management is part of the “function and role” the maternal, the mother having the ” burden “, but also ” the government “, in the sense that it participates in the “control and direction” that the mother has on the family. Bernard Lahire, in The reason of the lowest in 1993, shows the preponderance of women in the scriptures in their household (keep accounts, use a calendar, make lists of things to do, shopping, keeping a journal, communicate in small words, writings, etc). The mother is the memory day-to-day family, she must think about the things that different members of the family are going to do, have to do, and the wives develop as well, significantly more than their husbands, a great layout to the forecast, the rational management of the life of the home.

The support of women in the administrative tasks may be self-evident to many interviewees, it is often referred to a “nature” of women, which would give the women facilities to fill and file the papers, or in the relations with the agents of the institutions. The support of women of the papers is described as one of routine tasks, and is little valued within the family. And Christine talks about his way to manage the “paper” in a way that trivializes, putting these tasks on the same level as household chores and routine little interesting that she is ” like everyone else “. Robert recognizes his own incompetence, but does not boast the know-how of his wife in the matter. When the woman is a recognized specialist in administrative tasks, “the objective difference of skills is often obscured or euphémisée “.

Conversely, when the man is the specialist of the ” papers “, it becomes a liability valued. The man takes charge of the administrative management, in situations where there is a clear gap in academic skills between the spouses, for the benefit of man. This division of tasks characterizes the majority of couples immigrants, but also older couples, and several respondents discussed about their parents. But unlike women, who taking only care of the papers devalue their abilities, the men value their skills and distinguish these tasks other household tasks, household including, the close of its business practices. In other families, where the specialization is much less clear, the administrative tasks appear to be ” negotiable “.

“The exaggeration by the men of their actual involvement in tasks, such as Nassim Toufik, is common, but the administrative tasks are not all uniformly claimed by the men, and some appear more prestigious or important than others within the family. “As shown, Yasmine Siblot, the filling of the income tax return for the tax. is a task that is particularly emblematic of the tasks considered to be important and prestigious. It is a practice, rather male, and Bernard Lahire shows, on the basis of the comparison of the responses of the spouses, that this practice is the subject of a net over-reporting by men. This practice combines the characteristics of the most valued and claimed by the men : annual statement, it is only a burden one-time ; ” linked to major financial issues, it is a central element of control of the management of the family ; for a State administration, and relatively complex, it is a source of prestige symbolism. “. In terms of visits in services and direct relationships with the agents, the avoidance of costly travel time by men is common. It is often in an ad hoc manner, to solve a problem or stand up to an agent, that man comes to the window, while his wife manages the interaction routine with the agents of the institutions. “Jacqueline tells us that it is she who fills out the most forms and the majority of the letters are administrative, which is as soon as an ironic comment of Stone, which devalues this activity by introducing, laughing,” especially as it is complicated ! “By contrast, he explained seriously that in this case, it is charged with the “classification of documents” in the “archive boxes” carefully labelled and stored in his office, where he is also conducting its activities secretary of the local branch of the communist Party. “

The division of administrative tasks, unbalanced and uneven, is part of a monopolization of power home by men, who reserve the stewardship of things “important” and appoint women to the practices of a more routine nature. For women, the load of the steps is recorded in a domestic routine often subject to the supervision of their spouse.

But the support women’s relationships to administrations can become an assignment the bearer of resources within the household and the local space. Take care of a part of the administrative procedures helps to rebalance, in part, the situation dominated women. For example, it is the women who manage the relationships with the Fca, which depend on financial resources non-negligible. In addition, the completion of administrative procedures constitutes an opening beyond the home : the regular attendance of administrative services to enable the women of the neighborhood to meet. “The opportunities of dating that offer travel administrative are thus especially valued by women with inactive or very much controlled by their husbands, whether they are immigrant or not, but they are far from being the only “. The acquisition of a administrative know-how may also become a source of local recognition for women who have become ” specialists of the papers “, identified as such in the extended family and the neighbourhood.

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