Concepts, Research, Policy
Elgar original reference
Edited by Sylvia Chant
Chapter 66: Women’s Employment, Economic Risk and Poverty
James Heintz Introduction The transformation of women’s position in remunerative employment has been farreaching during the recent era of rapid global integration. Although the situation varies from country to country, currently more women participate in paid employment worldwide than at any other time in history (Heintz, 2006). However, equality of opportunity remains elusive. Gender segmentation of labour markets is endemic, with women concentrated in more precarious forms of employment, including informal employment (Chen et al., 2005). Economic stabilisation programmes and the process of global integration have frequently placed pressure on household incomes, pushing women into the paid labour force. At the same time, economic reforms have intensified demands on women’s unpaid work. Increasing the supply of women’s labour has been a central strategy by which families cope with economic change. As women have entered the global labour force in increasing numbers, the overall structure of employment has changed dramatically. Recent decades have witnessed growing pressures for labour market deregulation, episodes of ‘jobless growth’, growing informalisation and casualisation, improvements in jobs for the highly skilled, and declining opportunities for the less skilled. New opportunities have been created in many countries due to the expansion of production linked into global markets, providing new possibilities for employment. However, much of this new employment is precarious, and the size of the working poor population remains staggering. Against this backdrop, this chapter examines the often complex dynamics of women’s paid employment and its impact on standards of living, poverty outcomes, and women’s welfare. Gender dynamics...
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