Concepts, Research, Policy
Elgar original reference
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 62: Gender, Work and Poverty in High-income Countries
Diane Perrons A defining feature of contemporary high-income neoliberal economies is the feminisation of employment in the context of widening economic inequality, enduring gender inequality and persistent child poverty. This chapter identifies some analytical links between these characteristics, focusing on connections between earnings inequalities, the undervaluation of ‘women’s’ work and their over-representation among the working poor with related implications for child poverty.1 As the efficacy of the neoliberal model is now in question with the financial crisis and recession, this is an appropriate moment to restate these long standing feminist concerns as societies reconsider their modus operandi. All states are constrained in their freedom to manage their economies and finance social policy by wider economic considerations, albeit partially self-imposed. Until the end of the first decade of the twenty-first century these constraints were set by the supremacy of neoliberalism, characterised by economic deregulation, privatisation, and fiscal discipline. Nonetheless the processes underlying gender inequality and poverty materialise differently in different locations, especially when moderated by state policy, so while some of the theoretical tendencies are outlined in generic terms the detailed illustrations are more country specific. Empirical references are made to high-income (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)) countries with a particular focus on the United Kingdom (UK). Rising inequality, enduring gender inequality and child poverty Society as a whole has never been more opulent. In the two decades prior to 2007 world income doubled and for an unprecedented number of people, the economic problem, defined by Keynes as the...
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