Gendered Employment Patterns: Women’s Labour Market Outcomes across 24 Countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An accepted framework for ‘gendering’ the analysis of welfare regimes often compares countries by how far family policies support or undermine women’s employment participation. This article develops an alternative framework that explicitly spotlights women’s labour market outcomes rather than policies, and considers intensity, segregation, and pay alongside participation. Using hierarchical clustering on principal components, it groups 24 industrialised countries by their simultaneous performance across ten gendered employment outcomes, with further differences by class. The results reveal that the three core ‘worlds’ of welfare (social-democratic, corporatist, liberal) each displays a distinctive pattern of gendered employment outcomes. Only France diverges from expectations, as large gender pay gaps across the educational divide – likely due to fragmented wage-bargaining – place it in the same group as Anglophone countries. Nevertheless, the outcome-based clustering fails to support the idea of a homogeneous Mediterranean grouping or a singular Eastern European cluster, thereby highlighting the inadequacy of welfare regime theory for understanding women’s employment in these contexts. Furthermore, the results underscore the complexity and idiosyncrasy of gender inequality: while certain groups of countries are ‘better’ overall performers, all have their flaws. Even the Nordics fall behind on some measures of segregation, despite narrow participatory and pay gaps for lower and high-skilled groups. Therefore, separately monitoring multiple measures of gender inequality, rather than relying on a ‘headline’ indicator or gender equality index, matters for precisely ranking and benchmarking countries’ performances.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of European Social Policy
Publication statusAcceptance date - 19 Oct 2022

Keywords

  • Cluster analysis
  • comparative family policy
  • comparative social policy
  • defamilialization
  • gendered trade-offs
  • welfare state outcomes
  • welfare state paradox
  • welfare state typologies
  • women's employment
  • gender inequality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Gender Studies

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