What Impacts on Women's Working Time? Individual Factors and Beyond

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
TW1.3.02 (Tower One)
Angelika Kuemmerling, University of Duisburg-Essen / Institute for Work, Skills and Training (IAQ), Duisburg, Germany
Dominik Postels, University of Duisburg-Essen / Institute for Work, Skills and Training (IAQ), Duisburg, Germany
Increasing women’s employment rate has been on the agenda of the European Union for a long time now. With certain success: Women’s employment rate in the European Union is currently on an all-time high. However, the focus on employment rates ignores that employment is only one (if crucial) dimension when relating to the evaluation of women’s labour market integration. The in-depth analysis of employment forms and average weekly working time shows that in many European countries the increase of women’s employment rate is associated with a decrease of their average working time. Moreover, countries tend to favor different “solutions” with regard to women’s labour market participation (taking into account employment rate and working time). Using data from the European labour force survey, we will show that countries differ tremendously as regards women’s working time. This is in particular true with regard to the integration of mothers into the labour market. We will further show in how far some countries (Sweden, Slovenia, France) succeed more than others (Germany, UK) in securing women’s substantial employment across important life phases (single, partnership, motherhood, “empty-nest”) while others allocate women, especially mothers, to part-time. The second part of the paper focuses on the reasons for these different patterns. Using multi-level analysis we will demonstrate how institutional arrangements (e.g. child care institutions), predominant gender norms (analyzing data from the ESS), and companies readiness to offer flexible working time (data from the ECS) contribute to women’s and men’s working time patterns. Our analyses show that indeed predominant gender norms impact on women’s working time decisions: women’s working time tend to be longer in countries with more progressive attitudes and shorter in countries with more traditional attitudes. However, the influence of the incidence of public child care and flexible working time patterns is less straightforward and more complex. Policy implications will be discussed.