New Barriers and Continuing Constraints
Edited by Jacqueline Scott, Rosemary Crompton and Clare Lyonette
Chapter 5: Penalties of Part-time Work Across Europe
Tracey Warren Clear gender differences persist in rates of employment in Europe. Despite women’s increased entry to the labour force throughout the Western nations, men continue to dominate paid work while women continue to take major responsibility for unpaid caring work within the home. In addition to a female/male gap in work participation rates, women in the labour market typically spend far less time there than men, working fewer hours a week and over the life course (Anxo and Boulin 2006). Such short hours working has often been analysed as a way to help workers, particularly women, reconcile ‘two roles’ and balance demands from home and paid work, but working part-time disadvantages women in many ways (Fagan and Burchell 2002; Myrdal and Klein 1956; O’Reilly and Fagan 1998; Parent-Thirion et al. 2007). In addition to the importance of gender in studying part-time jobs, a range of nine class-related themes can be identified in the literature that examines the advantages and downsides associated with women’s part-time working (Box 5.1). A set of three influential themes concern women’s entry into part-time jobs. First, to what extent is the part-time labour market largely for women with low levels of education and training (Büchtemann and Quack 1989; Devine 1994; Lind and Rasmussen 2008; Warren 2000)? Second, when compared with any previous employment, do women experience downward occupational mobility on entry to part-time jobs (Büchtemann and Quack 1989; Connolly and Gregory 2008; Dex 1992; Grant et al. 2005)? Third, does women’s entry into...
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