Reconsidered Gender Inequalities in an Era of Growing Education

Saturday, 4 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
CLM.7.03 (Clement House)
Barbara Barabaschi, Catholic University, Department of Economic and Social Sciences, Piacenza, Italy
Chiara Mussida, Catholic University, Department of Economic and Social Sciences, Piacenza, Italy
We analyze the consequences of increased educational levels by adopting a gender perspective. In particular, assuming labour market insertion as a former requirement for social mobility and protection from adverse events in the life course (Barbier, 2004), we try to answer the question: “gender equality in educational attainments leads to better employment perspectives for women?” Those perspectives are measured by gender gap and sectorial segregation.

We study three countries, Italy, United Kingdom, and Sweden, representing three different welfare regimes, more or less sensitive to women employment (work-life balance policies), and different institutional frameworks with different labor institutions and regulations.

We use the European Union Labour Force Survey data for the period 1983-2013. Our sample includes individuals in the age range 15-54.

Factors considered to investigate the labour market insertion are: education, wage, sector of economic activity, occupation, characteristics of the job contract, i.e. part-time/full-time and temporary/permanent contract, father’s education and occupation, area of residence, marital status, family size, presence of children.

We examine the changing patterns of educational inequalities between countries by comparing the trend of key demographic-economic indicators, especially those related to educational attainment (literacy rate, enrolments in primary, secondary and tertiary education). We estimate the role of various aspects of social origin by estimating OLS regressions. This gives insights on the persistence of educational inequalities and on the role of social strata (Blossfeld and Shavit, 1993).

We also study the raw educational gender gap and we aim to examine discrepancies across countries primarily in two directions. First we analyze the economic participation and the employment opportunities by examining the occupations and subsequently the presence of segregation in mobility. Second, we decompose the gender gap, by using specific techniques (e.g., Oaxaca and Fairlie decompositions), into the component due to gender differences in the distribution of individual characteristics and the component due to gender differences in the remunerations of the same characteristics, i.e. the presence of discrimination against women. Women, especially if low educated are indeed frequently excluded from the labour market or segregated in occupations characterized by lower career perspectives and therefore might suffer more from discrimination and occupational segregation (Bettio and Verashchagina, 2008; Triventi, 2010).

On this basis, the paper discusses the policies implications from reconsidering educational inequalities to foster gender equality in the labour market as in society as a whole. In detail, whether successful (and therefore taken as best practices), the policies implemented in some countries might be adopted as well in less efficient countries.