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Gender differences in women’s and men’s ways into debt problems
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare. (Kritiska perspektiv i våldsprevention)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2752-4088
Mälardalen University, School of Health, Care and Social Welfare, Health and Welfare. (Samproduktionsforskning inom hälsa och välfärd)
2016 (English)Conference paper, Presentation (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background and purpose

Research on women's and men's debt problems is a neglected area. The research available shows that women and men's gender typical behaviours and gender-related dynamics in close relationships that reflect societal power structures (for instance women’s subordination under men) are relevant to understand what creates and is the cause of economic inequality in households. The limited research that exists suggests, for instance, that women’s debts to a greater extent derives from consumption or student loans, while men's indebtedness to a greater extent is caused by misguided ventures in their own businesses and car purchases. In close relationships, women's indebtedness also more often seems to be rooted in solidarity actions, such as entering as a creditor of loans that their men have taken, to get the opportunity to develop their own business. In this sense, men’s debts are more often directly related to their own business and personal projects.

 

The aim of the current project is to deepen the understanding of gender differences in women’s and men’s descriptions of ways of getting into debt problems.

Methods

The study is qualitative and has a gender comparative design. A strategic sample (concerning gender, age and family constellation) is made of men’s and women’s “personal letter” that are appended to debt relief applications sent to the Swedish Enforcement Authority's (Swedish: Kronofogden). Approximately 50.000 debt reconstruction applications that includes a personal letter are received by the Authority every year. Around 10% of these letters from 2015 are analyzed using a combinations of content and narrative analysis. This is done by searching for the applicants’ descriptions of circumstances that has led into their debt problems as well as their explanations to the causes for the problems

Results

Preliminary results confirm that women and men's gender typical behaviors and gender-related dynamics in their close relationships can be used as explanations for the debt problems that are at hand.

Conclusions and implications

Further research is needed on how indebted identities are formed in interaction with others. Such research should examine how women and men are categorized and treated by professional helpers (social workers and other professionals) as well as how the indebted on the basis of this form their self-image and ultimately shapes their actions. On the basis of the results it is recommended that professional helpers pay closer attention to and try to prevent that men's gender typical behaviors and power relations between women and men in close relationships causes debt problems. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016.
National Category
Social Work
Research subject
Social Work
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mdh:diva-33004OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mdh-33004DiVA: diva2:956313
Conference
Reflective social work practices in contemporary societies: crossed dialogues and new pathways between praxis and research, 6th European Conference for Social Work Research, Lisbon Portugal, 30 March - 1 April 2016
Projects
Kön och skuld – Budget- och skuldrådgivares förklaringsmodeller och hjälpstrategier i arbetet med par samt kvinnor och män med skuldproblematik
Available from: 2016-08-29 Created: 2016-08-29 Last updated: 2016-12-19Bibliographically approved

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