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1 February 2013
Gender gaps in employment_new and old trends beyond the surface

When reading the latest issue of the EU Employment and Social Situation Quarterly Review with its special focus on Gender one may get the impression that the claimed reduction in Gender Pay Gap (from 17.3 % to 16.2 %) as an effect of the crisis is in some way getting the balance right in favour of women, both due to bigger job reduction in traditionally male dominated sectors and the larger increase in higher educated female employment. The conveyed message seems even optimistic as it is stated that “the faster increase in women’s average educational attainment may contribute to a more permanent decline in the gender pay gap, as long as women are channelled towards the high-earning, skilled occupations with the highest future labour demand”. Nevertheless, in order to get a more nuanced picture (and unfortunately less optimistic) it’s useful to read the new ENEGE (European Network of Gender Experts in Employment)  Report on Gender and Employment in Europe which has been recently released.

It shows how being the gender pay gap reduction driven by the crisis’ impact on manifactures it’s also likely that fiscal consolidation and future cuts in public employment will mainly hit women as workforce while current reduction of welfare budgets  and services are already impacting on gender equality.

The crisis is indeed challenging the traditional pattern of women as buffer workforce, as the contemporary ‘buffers’ are young men and women on temporary employment contracts and migrant workers. Another demonstrated effect of the economic crisis is the increase of  discrimnation against pregnant women workers and mothers rights to leave and benefits. Worthwhile reading also for its recommendations on reviewing current indexes to measure gender equality and to implement gender budgeting measures.


Updated by Maria Sangiuliano, 01/02/2013
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