While increasing female employment has contributed to reducing gender inequality, it has also exposed women to higher economic insecurity. The contribution of this paper is to understand the social conditions that might expose women to economic insecurity in different European cities. Specific aspects have been considered: (a) reduced (part time) work, (b) hampered labour-market participation (unemployment, involuntary inactivity due to care tasks), (c) different household structures (single/couple; with/without young children) or (d) educational level of both partners in the household. Data are based on a survey carried out in 2012 in seven European cities, representative of the different welfare/gender regimes in Europe. The results show that the most important divide is between women cohabiting/not cohabiting with a partner. Splitting the analysis on these two groups of women, differentiated configurations of conditions exposing women to economic insecurity have emerged in different welfare/care regimes. While Nordic, Central-eastern and Anglo-Saxon cities substantiate an individualised model of exposure to economic insecurity mostly driven by women’s participation in the labour market, in Continental and Mediterranean cities insecurity mainly depends on the educational levels (mainly of the partner in the case of coupled women) and the organisation of the household (presence of children).

Women at risk: the impact of labour-market participation, education and household structure on the economic vulnerability of women through Europe

MAESTRIPIERI, LARA IVANA;RANCI ORTIGOSA, COSTANZO
2017-01-01

Abstract

While increasing female employment has contributed to reducing gender inequality, it has also exposed women to higher economic insecurity. The contribution of this paper is to understand the social conditions that might expose women to economic insecurity in different European cities. Specific aspects have been considered: (a) reduced (part time) work, (b) hampered labour-market participation (unemployment, involuntary inactivity due to care tasks), (c) different household structures (single/couple; with/without young children) or (d) educational level of both partners in the household. Data are based on a survey carried out in 2012 in seven European cities, representative of the different welfare/gender regimes in Europe. The results show that the most important divide is between women cohabiting/not cohabiting with a partner. Splitting the analysis on these two groups of women, differentiated configurations of conditions exposing women to economic insecurity have emerged in different welfare/care regimes. While Nordic, Central-eastern and Anglo-Saxon cities substantiate an individualised model of exposure to economic insecurity mostly driven by women’s participation in the labour market, in Continental and Mediterranean cities insecurity mainly depends on the educational levels (mainly of the partner in the case of coupled women) and the organisation of the household (presence of children).
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