Gender Inequalities in the 21st Century

Gender Inequalities in the 21st Century

New Barriers and Continuing Constraints

Edited by Jacqueline Scott, Rosemary Crompton and Clare Lyonette

Both women and men strive to achieve a work and family balance, but does this imply more or less equality? Does the persistence of gender and class inequalities refute the notion that lives are becoming more individualised? Leading international authorities document how gender inequalities are changing and how many inequalities of earlier eras are being eradicated. However, this book shows there are new barriers and constraints that are slowing progress in attaining a more egalitarian society. Taking the new global economy into account, the expert contributors to this book examine the conflicts between different types of feminisms, revise old debates about ‘equality’ and ‘difference’ in the gendered nature of work and care, and propose new and innovative policy solutions.

Chapter 5: Penalties of Part-time Work Across Europe

Tracey Warren

Subjects: business and management, diversity and management, development studies, family and gender policy, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, economics of social policy, family and gender policy, labour policy


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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