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Which Social Policies Sustain Gender Equality in the Labour Market?. Hadas Mandel Tel-Aviv University. PRESENTED AT THE CONFERENCE “ GENDER EQUALITY IN THE LABOUR MARKET ” MAY 2 nd , STOCKHOLM. Two questions. Which aspects of gender equality are we referring to?

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Which Social Policies Sustain Gender Equality in the Labour Market?


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    1. Which Social Policies Sustain Gender Equality in the Labour Market? Hadas Mandel Tel-Aviv University PRESENTED AT THE CONFERENCE “GENDER EQUALITY IN THE LABOUR MARKET” MAY 2nd, STOCKHOLM

    2. Two questions • Which aspects of gender equality are we referring to? Social policies that promote some aspects of gender equality may, at the same time, aggravate others • To whom are we referring when we talk about gender equality? Some policies advance equality among disadvantaged women, while others are more beneficial for advantaged women

    3. The first question: Which aspects of gender equality? • Access of women to paid work? • Economic attainments of those women already in the labour market? • Poverty rates? • The ability of single mothers to establish an independent household?

    4. Prevalent indicators of gender in/equality in comparative analysis Access of women to paid work • Labour force participation (all women, mothers of preschoolers) • Working continuity (% of mothers who work after giving birth and during the child-rearing period) • Levels of women’s earnings dependency (range 0-100) Occupational and earning attainments • Occupational sex segregation  • Women's representation in managerial positions  • Women's representation in highly paid positions Class inequality • Wage gap between high- and low-educated women  • Poverty rate among single mothers 

    5. Countries Social Democratic (Scandinavia) • Sweden • Denmark • Finland • Norway Liberal (Anglo-Saxon) • USA • Canada • UK • Australia Conservative (Continental and Southern Europe) • Germany • Netherlands • France • Belgium • Italy • Spain

    6. Countries Social Democratic (Scandinavia) • Sweden • Denmark • Finland • Norway Liberal (Anglo-Saxon) • USA • Canada • UK • Australia Conservative (Continental and southern Europe) • Germany • Netherlands • France • Belgium If welfare state strategies indeed affect patterns of gender inequality, then countries with similar policies should resemble each other in their patterns of gender inequality. • Italy • Spain

    7. Prevalent Indicators of Gender Inequality in Comparative Analysis Access of women to paid work • Labour force participation (all women, mothers of preschoolers) • Working continuity (% of mothers who work after giving birth and during the child-rearing period) • Levels of women’s earnings dependency (range 0-100) Occupational and earnings attainment • Occupational sex segregation  • Women's representation in managerial positions  • Women's representation in highly paid positions Class inequality • Wage gap between high- and low-educated women  • Poverty rate among single mothers 

    8. Countries with similar welfare state strategies have similar forms of gender inequality (they fall into the same cluster) Denmk. Sweden Finland Norway Canada USA UK Belgium France Australia Nether. Germany Italy Spain

    9. Indicators of gender inequality in the 3 welfare regimes (values represent the average percentage in each cluster) Blue: most egalitarian,Red: least egalitarian

    10. Indicators of gender inequality in the 3 welfare regimes (values represent the average percentage in each cluster) Blue: most egalitarian,Red: least egalitarian

    11. Indicators of gender inequality in the 3 welfare regimes (values represent the average percentage in each cluster) Blue: most egalitarian,Red: least egalitarian

    12. Indicators of gender inequality in the 3 welfare regimes (values represent the average percentage in each cluster) Blue: most egalitarian,Red: least egalitarian

    13. Indicators of gender inequality in the 3 welfare regimes (values represent the average percentage in each cluster) Blue: most egalitarian,Red: least egalitarian

    14. How can we sustain gender equality in the labour market? • Depends on the aspects of equality we want to achieve • Different modes of state intervention can sustain some forms of gender equality, but promote other forms of gender inequality • An integrative analysis of different aspects of gender inequality will help us think more in terms of tradeoffs

    15. The tradeoff in the social democratic regime • Mother-friendly policies that reconcile paid with unpaid work: • Bring more women into paid work • Increase women’s economic autonomy But… • Reduce women’s occupational mobility by leading to increased discrimination • Lessen women’s motivation by providing attractive conditions in the public sector

    16. The tradeoff in the liberal regime • State passivity and gender neutrality: • Facilitate success among educated and highly skilled women But… • Costs are paid primarily by disadvantaged groups

    17. Second question: To whom are we referring when we talk about gender equality? • Socioeconomic diversity among working women has grown substantially • Solutions that are appropriate for low-skilled women would not necessarily help high- skilled women, and vice versa

    18. Inequality among disadvantaged and advantaged men and women • Disadvantaged Vulnerability: To what extent are women protected relative to men? • Advantaged Glass ceiling: To what extent do women succeed in attaining men’s positions? To what extent do women lag behind men?

    19. My goal: To examine the relationship between family policies and in/equality among disadvantaged and advantaged women separately by Index of family policy Indices of in/equality among disadvantaged and advantaged

    20. Distribution of countries by levels of family policy High Low • The components: • Length of paid maternity/parental leave (5) Public sector employment • Child care facilities for children under 3 (6) Service sector employment • Public spending on family benefits in public services and (4) in cash transfers

    21. Indicators of in/equality among disadvantaged and advantaged Disadvantaged Advantaged Women’s representation in: • Managerial occupations • Supervisory positions • Professional occupations • Top-wage positions • Parliament • Ministerial positions • Boardroom membership • Poverty rate among single parents • Poverty rate among non-working single parents • Gender wage gaps among low earners • Gender wage gaps among low-educated workers • Percentage of women in the bottom wage quintile

    22. Countries with generous family policies tend to advance gender equality among the disadvantaged The components: (1) Poverty rate among single parents and (2) among non-working single parents (3) Gender wage gaps among low earners and (4) among low-educated workers (5) Percentage of women in the bottom wage quintile

    23. Unregulated vs. regulated attainment Representation in: Managerial occupations Supervisory positions Professional occupations Top wage positions Representation in: Parliament Ministerial positions Boardroom membership

    24. In countries with generous family policies, the entry of advantaged women into powerful positions is facilitated by state regulations The components: Women’s representation in: (1) parliament (2) ministerial positions (3) boardroom membership

    25. In countries with generous family policies, advantaged women have lower occupational and earnings attainments The components: Women’s representation in: (1) managerial occupations (2) supervisory positions (3) professional occupations (4) top wage positions

    26. So, to whom are we referring when we talk about gender equality? • Generous family policies benefit women with lower socioeconomic characteristics. • Women with higher socioeconomic characteristics find it more difficult to enter powerful and highly paid positions in developed welfare states. • Career interruption is particularly costly for highly skilled women, who are the potential candidates for good jobs.

    27. Distinguishing between the effects of different components • Some components of family policies may have discriminatory effects (e.g., parental leave, reduced working time), while others may not (e.g., child care facilities). • The problem: Countries with generous family policies tend to rank high on most indicators, and vice versa.

    28. The effect of the different components of family policy on the gender wage gaps • Instead of dividing the indicators into groups, I divided the sample into two groups: • Men and women with low socioeconomic characteristics • Men and women with high socioeconomic characteristics

    29. The effect of different components on gender wage gaps in different socioeconomic groups * Result of HLM regressions, individual-level characteristics are controlled. ** Dark: significant, bright: insignificant.

    30. Summing up:How can social policies advance gender equality? 1) Policy matters • The important role of state intervention • The significance of Sweden and other Scandinavian countries as role models

    31. Summing up 2) There are significant tradeoffs • Different welfare state strategies have different costs and benefits in advancing gender equality • Limiting the attainments of advantaged women may be a fair price to pay for advancing equality on a universal basis • The different gender inequality patterns reflect not only different modes of welfare state interventions, but also their different intentions

    32. Summing up 3) The need to pay attention to the socioeconomic differences among women • The remedies appropriate for low- versus high-skilled women may not just be different, they may also conflict

    33. Thank You!