Recession and Austerity in Europe: Gender Equality Jeopardized? a Gender Outlook for Employment Trends in Eight European Countries

Saturday, 4 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW1.2.04 (Tower One)
Helene Perivier, Sciences Po OFCE, paris, France
The economic crisis has deeply affected European labour markets. Employment has dropped more or less in all countries. Female employment was less affected by the recession phase of the crisis than male employment. The second stage, characterised by the implementation of stimulus packages, should have been more favorable to male employment. The third stage, during which austerity plans have been introduced in most European countries was expected to be particularly harsh for female employment (Rubery and Karamessini, 2014, Eydoux, Math and Périvier, 2014). The gendered effects of recession are basically explained by sex sectoral segregation that characterized labour markets. For the same reasons, the austerity phase is supposed to be less favourable to female employment. In countries where fiscal consolidation that implies reduction in public spending, has been strong, female employment is expected to be deeply affected. The aim of this paper is to describe and analyse the trend in employment for women and men during the different stages of current crisis in eight European countries: Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. We apply some of the methodologies developed in Rubery (1988) using Eurostat data. We break down the evolution of employment by sectors for men and women by using a shift-share analysis. In some countries, specifically in Spain, the impact of the crisis has led to a narrowing of the gender gap; this is mainly explained by gender sectoral segregation. In the UK and Denmark, women have been less protected by sectoral segregation, because they have experienced more job losses than they should have if their distribution across the different economic sectors had remained the same during the crisis. The austerity policies are analysed to shed light on their gender impact. Finally, the long-term changes in labour market or public policies induced by the recession and austerity affect the trends in female and male employment. In many European countries, changes in public policies are liable to jeopardize the progresses towards gender equality.