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The State at Work, Volume 2

Comparative Public Service Systems

Edited by Hans-Ulrich Derlien and B. Guy Peters

Representing the most extensive research on public employment, this volume explores the radical changes that have taken place in the configuration of national public services due to a general expansion of public employment that was followed by stagnation and decreases. Part-time employment and the involvement of women also increased as a component of the public sector and were linked to the most important growth areas such as the educational, health care and personal social services sectors. The two volumes that make up this study shed important insight on these changes.
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Chapter 6: Women’s Employment and Part-time Employment in the Public Service

Silke Heinemann


Silke Heinemann One of the most significant labour market developments common to industrialized countries in recent decades is the growth in female work force participation. Another is the erosion of the so-called ‘standard pattern of employment’ through an increase in ‘atypical’ forms of work, in particular, part-time employment. Part-time has become such a widespread ‘atypical’ form of work that ‘atypical’ is not the most appropriate adjective. This chapter gives an account of each of these trends in one part of the labour market: the public service. The parallels in the emerging patterns of female and part-time employment are evident in the international quantitative comparisons set out below. Both are complex phenomena, depending on an interaction of different economic, social and political factors. The multiplicity of influences is indicated in Figure 6.1. The initial part of the analysis below focuses on the general trends and the policy differences evident in the legal frameworks established for female and part-time employment in the countries surveyed in this present study (Box 5 of Figure 6.1). Organizational constraints, however, do not provide the sole explanation for the new labour market developments. The latter part of the chapter discusses the impact of extra-public sector influences as identified in Boxes 1–4 of Figure 6.1. EMPLOYMENT OF WOMEN IN THE PUBLIC SERVICE Despite legislation prohibiting unequal treatment and a mostly balanced gender composition at the macro-level, women are still under-represented in some areas of administration. The following quantitative analysis of women’s...

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