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Labour Markets, Gender and Institutional Change

Essays in Honour of Günther Schmid

Edited by Hugh Mosley and Jacqueline O’Reilly

The original essays in this book have been written by a number of leading international experts in the field of labour market studies to honour the intellectual contribution and lifetime achievement of Günther Schmid.
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Chapter 10: Women between labour market integration and segregation: Germany and Sweden compared

Hildegard Theobald and Friederike Maier

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10. Women between labour market integration and segregation: Germany and Sweden compared Hildegard Theobald and Friederike Maier1 GENDER CONTRACT, EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT AND PUBLIC POLICY Production and reproduction in a society, its work and social rules and wider social arrangements such as those governing the family and market work are based on a more or less explicit social contract. Each social contract usually has two elements: a gender contract and an employment contract. The gender contract primarily defines which gender is responsible for domestic work and which for market work; the employment contract, on the other hand, stipulates what an employment relationship is and who should be available to enter into such relationships (cf. OECD, 1994, p. 19). As two sides of the same coin, these two constructs shape cultural paradigms, institutions and normative processes in the world of market work and in that of the family. However, they are themselves subject to processes of change leading to very contradictory outcomes (Pfau-Effinger, 1998, p. 184). The gender contract and the employment contract influence the behaviour of individuals, determining the options open to them, and also form the basis of the institutional arrangements governing the labour market and the family. The state (understood here as the level at which both spheres are collectively regulated) regulates the links between the world of market work and that of the family as well as those between the genders. In particular, social policy and the arrangements governing the welfare state influence individuals’...

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