The Welfare State and Life Transitions

The Welfare State and Life Transitions

A European Perspective

Edited by Dominique Anxo, Gerhard Bosch and Jill Rubery

This timely book reveals that new life courses are found to require more, and not less welfare support, but only Sweden has developed an active life course approach and only three more could be considered supportive, in at least some life stages. For the remainder, policies were at best limited or, in Italy’s case, passive. The contributors reveal that the neglect of changing needs is leading to greater reliance on the family and the labour market, just as these support structures are becoming more unpredictable and more unequal. They argue that alongside these new class inequalities, new forms of inter-generational inequality are also emerging, particularly in pension provision.

Chapter 5: Transitions in Female and Male Life Course: Changes and Continuities in Austria

Ingrid Mairhuber

Subjects: economics and finance, welfare economics, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, welfare states

Extract

Ingrid Mairhuber INTRODUCTION Austria’s ‘conservative welfare state’ (Esping Andersen 1990) traditionally provided a relatively strong system of intergenerational support and protection for employed (male) persons and their families across their life course, linked to their occupational status. For decades men easily found stable jobs and moved on to a career and independent living, although not necessarily in the professions they were trained for. At the height of the postwar expansion even unskilled male workers were able to find relatively decent jobs although another characteristic of the Austrian employment model was strong segregation between industrial sectors in the level of wages and employment conditions. In addition, Austria traditionally was a country with low female labour market participation. Young women often left the labour market after marriage or at least after the first childbirth. Thus, women were traditionally highly dependent on the direct and indirect support of their spouses or partners – via derived rights in the social security system, especially with regard to health insurance and pension benefits (Mairhuber 2000). The gender specific division of labour or the male breadwinner and female carer model was endorsed both by the conservative welfare state (for example, by a generous family allowance system, social-security protection derived from marriage and inadequate childcare facilities) and by trade unions, who long ignored the gender pay gap. Full employment for men and protecting male occupational status were among the primary objectives of Austria’s socioeconomic model. The following chapter investigates the question of how transitions in the female and male...

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