Ateliers > Salaires, budgets familiaux et genre dans l'Europe contemporaine

Salaires, budgets familiaux et genre dans l'Europe contemporaine

Coordinatrice : Luisa Maria Muñoz-Abeledo


Session unique : Jeudi 2 novembre, 10h30-12h30

Family income in Spain during the 1920s: gender and age distribution

Cristina Borderías (Universitat de Barcelona) ; Luisa Muñoz (Universidad de Santiago de Compostela) (


The available studies on wages and living standards in Spain suggest that at least until the 1930s male wages were insufficient to cover the economic needs of families. We also know that there were very high rates of female activity. The question, still unresolved, is whether these were due to employment opportunities or the inadequacy of male wages. The scarcity of data is one of the reasons for the persistence of this unknown: wage series are not disaggregated by gender in the long term, the available series sometimes are discontinuous, and there are few family budgets. All of this disrupts the knowledge of family economies. Based on the analysis of the Nominative Population Censuses of 1924, this paper provides evidence on the economic activity of women and the contribution to family income of all household members in two regions with very differentiated models of economic development - Catalonia and Galicia.



Child work and family budgets in Barcelona calico factories: 1768-1800

Martín Iturralde Valls (Universitat de Barcelona)


Considered the main industry of the city during the last decades of the XVIII century, no European region experienced a greater concentration of calico protofactories than Barcelona (Spain). Given the importance of this manufacturing industry and its well-known relationship with the modern cotton factories of the XIX century, in this paper we will analyze the most important changes experienced in child labor exploitation between both models.

Thus, we will analyze the participation rates, the ages of access to work and the evolution of wages. Furthermore, we will analyze the importance of child wages for family budgets, before and after the Industrial Revolution

The sources used in this research are the wage books of some of the main Barcelona companies. The official statistics, and investigations carried out by various authors from those years, as Ceferino Tresserra



Not only male breadwinners: the contribution of sons’, daughters’ and wifes’ wages in the economic strategies of working class families during industrialization (Iruñea – Pamplona, Spain, 1840 – 1930)”.

Fernando Mendiola (Universidad Pública de Navarra /Nafarroako Unibertsitate Publikoa)


In this paper we will deal with the participation in labor market of the different members of working class families during the beginning of industrialization in a small town in northern Spain, Iruñea – Pamplona. The analysis is based on individual census data, and the employment data is linked to other variables, such as age and the position in the household. The paper will focus on three aspects of family economies. Firstly we will deal with the increasing importance of younger workers for household economies. Secondly we will analyze the special situation of some families whose main economic income was that of adult women, such as textile workers or laundresses. Finally, we will focus on families with no declared income, aiming to answer to which extent the feminization of poverty was a reality in Pamplona during industrialization.



Family incomes in the Spanish mining, a first approach (1870-1930)

Ángel Pascual Martínez Soto, José Joaquín García Gómez and Miguel Á. Pérez de Perceval  (University of Murcia)


Spain developed an intense mining activity in the contemporary period, especially in the second half of the 19th century and the first third of the 20th century (the Spanish mining “golden age”). This activity included a wide range of minerals (including those of lead, copper, iron, mercury, and coal) and basins. They appeared different mining areas, whose features depended on the local economy basis, the mining tillage types and, in particular, by the organisation of the mining companies in each area. Specific labour markets were developed. Companies implemented recruitment and labour retention policies to control the workers and assure the labour market reproduction, along with paternalistic practices, which had a high degree of intensity in certain places. With regard to the labour market composition, we should highlight the high proportion of child labour and the limited participation of the female labour, which however reaches significant percentages in certain basins (as the Asturias´ coal basin).

In this work we present a first approach to the reconstruction of the family incomes of the most representative Spanish mining basins. For this purpose we have used official statistics (which offer us e.g. the composition of the labour force by sex and age, adults and children), business sources and contemporaneous publications, along with the current work on the subject. We are comparing the evolution of available real wages for men, women and children and its specific behaviour, which is related to many aspects, the economy and mining conjunctures, the work organisation in each area, the legislative development (especially the social legislation on child labour and women), the Trade Union and the industrial activity, etc. It should be outlined in the composition of wages the huge gender gap, with salaries of the women normally below the child labour wages.



"Family budgets during Spanish Autarchy. An example in an industrial textile city in Catalonia (Manresa, 1940-1950)

Lluís Virós (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)


This paper shows new data about men and women’s wages in Manresa, an industrial textile city of Barcelona (Spain). The main objectives of the paper are the following: first, to obtain nominal wage in the autarchy to compare the wages among different sectors; second, to analyse the wage gender gap, to know the contribution of woman to family budgets. Until now, there were only researches based on general sources and this communication wants to go into further details thanks to the use of local documentation more detailed and closer to the daily reality of the society; third, to progress in the knowledge of the wages in an industrial city in the context of the Spanish dictatorship in which the salaries were extremely regulated by law.

The paper uses as a main source the “Wages Declaration” of the main important companies in this city made in May 1946 in the context of resolution of one of the first strikes that took place during the Franco’s regime. This strike was caused by the runaway increase of the inflation and the fall in real wages. This information was linked with other two sources: the data from the wages books of one of the biggest textile enterprises in Spain, Textiles Bertrand Serra SA, and the local population census in 1950. With all of data I will reconstruct a sample of families knowing and their budgets.



Vulnerable households and occupancy. Barcelona, late 18th century.

Montserrat Carbonell-Esteller, Departament d’Historia Econòmica, Universitat de Barcelona


The present research deals with an early industrial city from southern Europe. In the Barcelona of the late 18th-early 19th centuries, the factory system developed very early, with new textile industries devoted to the production and printing of cotton textiles (indianas-calicoes). In the second half of the 1700s the city’s population almost tripled thanks both to the immigration of men and women and to natural population growth. The economic, social and demographic transformation which took place explains the urban densification, the increase in rents, the rise in food prices and the generalization of poverty and inequality, in a world in which labour opportunities for men and women, boys and girls, increased exponentially as the industrial city gradually came into existence (Mora 2013, Borderias 2014).


The aim of this paper is to reflect on the role played by work identity and multiple employment in the life course of individuals and of households at a time of considerable social and economic transformations.  What are the most vulnerable households? What occupational profile do their members have? Is a diversity of occupations in the same household a cause and/or consequence of their own vulnerability? Is multiple employment perhaps an adaptive strategy to become a sustainable household? This paper is based on a study of 366 households from the Sant Pere neighbourhood in 1770 in the city of Barcelona.

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