Concept of work and employment

The concept of work can be approached from different approaches. Its basic definition indicates that it is the measure of the effort made by human beings.

According to the first definition of the dictionary of the Royal Spanish Academy “work” is to engage in any physical or intellectual activity, while “employ” is “to occupy someone entrusting a business, commission or position.” In our language, both terms are often used as synonyms, considering who does not have a job as a person who “does not work”.

However, the term “work” encompasses various forms of effort that are not always rewarded with economic rewards or accompanied by the existence of a person or company that acts as an “employer”. In this way, “working” is not the same as “having a job”. In fact, the job search itself is a job for the people who initiate the process in an organized and persistent way. For this reason, the “work of looking for work” is often spoken of.

Although women are now massively incorporated into the labor market, men have not done so in equal measure to domestic responsibilities. In Spain, women spend four times more time in domestic work than men. In addition, there is no equitable distribution of tasks and women tend to be responsible for the most laborious tasks and those that are usually done on a daily basis. All this implies that both access and maintenance and promotion in employment is more difficult for women than for men. However, it must be borne in mind that the younger the members of the couple and the higher the educational level they have, the distribution tends to be more equitable.