Women Torn between Parenting and Gainful Employment
In its guidelines for Member State's employment policies the European Union enumerates among its targets increased employment rates for women. Achieving this target has meanwhile become important also because of future demographic developments: in order to productively cope with the challenge of an ageing population, it is indispensable to build up, maintain and develop human resources. An underlying condition to achieving this end is to efficiently use the human capital provided by women. Already in the past decades, it was mainly women with children whose growing inclination to pursue a gainful employment made it possible to boost employment rates (among married women in their main working age, with children under 15, the labour force participation rate grew by 23 percentage points between 1981 and 1997). In contrast to this group, most other groups showed declining participation rates: among the young because of the trend towards longer education and training, among the old because of the increasing trend towards early retirement. Family obligations are of much greater importance for a woman's decision to enter the labour market than for men. The gender-specific segmentation of paid and unpaid work results in a framework that in turn leads to worse conditions faced by women in their gainful employment and to an inefficient allocation of resources. Women with children are particularly liable to accept "downward" job mobility or restricted career opportunities in order to reconcile their professional and family life. Women with children working at full-time jobs are more frequently employed in lower-qualified jobs and more rarely in higher-qualified jobs than childless women. Part-time jobs held by women with children are even more frequently of the lower-qualified type than full-time jobs. Against this background, the report analyses the issue of economic factors determining women's fertility decisions and the labour force behaviour of women with children, listing some mechanisms which contribute to the relatively low ranking of women in the labour market. The purpose of the report is to highlight theoretical and analytical factors, on which an intensified future empirical research on the subject should be based. It concentrates on issues which require more detailed analysis in order to provide an insight into the impact of different political approaches upon labour supply decisions of women and their fertility rate.
Frauen im Spannungsfeld zwischen Mutterschaft und Erwerbstätigkeit; Women Torn between Parenting and Gainful Employment
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