Unformatted text preview: Professor Kelemen
Social Policy and Politics:
Lessons from Europe Spring 2011
Gender Equality and the European Social Model Outline
• Is there greater equality for women in Europe?
Dimensions of gender equality
Issues facing women who want to balance work and family Europe is not a paradise for gender equality
Europe is not a paradise for gender equality And there are big differences between And there are big differences between countries
• Greece is not Sweden
Italy is not Norway But many European countries do better But many European countries do better than the US in terms of gender equality World
2009 Pay Gap between men and women in EU and US
Pay Gap between men and women in EU and US
Gender pay gap in the EU, by country, 2005 (%) (red bar is EU average) US pay gap: women earn 24% less than men. Increases in women’s Increases in women’s labor force participation Combining work and family life in Combining work and family life in Europe and the US
• • Some differences in pay are do to sexism, and some differences related to work life balance issues
Common challenges in work life balance Combining work and family life in Europe and the US
Combining work and family life in Europe and the US
• • Similar rates of female labor force participation in Europe and US / similar rates of families where both parents work.
But in Europe, there are far stronger policies to support working families…
• Paid parental leave
Subsidized ECEC (Early Childhood Education and Care) services Mothers’ employment rates
Mothers’ employment rates More part time work by women in Europe than in US
More part time work by women in Europe than in US Changes in part time work…
Changes in part time work… some countries have tried to encourage parttime work / flexitime to encourage greater female labor force participation and to make labor force a bit more flexible Gornick/ Meyers article
Gornick/ Meyers article
• Compare family policies in US to those in Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands
In all countries, lots of families with both parents working – face ‘work life balance’ issues
US is one of 5 countries in the world without a national maternity pay policy!
No paid parental leave at childbirth/early infancy
Very little publicly funded child care Gornick/ Meyers
• Arguments suggesting we can’t draw lessons / borrow models from Europe:
Americans / American political culture prefers to leave things to the market
• • …but ECEC can be framed as education
Surveys show that large majorities (up to 85%) Americans in working families believe that employed women should get paid maternity leave.
63% believe parents should get benefits for child care. US family policies
US family policies
• Federal Policy
• Family Medical Leave Act (Up to 12 weeks unpaid for some employees)
Head Start for very low income families 5 states have paid maternity benefits
Some private employers give paid maternity leave
In Mid1990s 43% American women employed during pregnancy got paid maternity leave
Lack of subsidized child care hits single mother particularly hard. Comparisons
• In US, only 6 % of children aged 12 are cared for in publicly financed /regulated child care programs
20% in France and Finland. 33% Norway. 50% in Sweden and 75% in Denmark.
Countries with subsidized family leave policies typically spend about 12% of GDP on them.
US spends 0.2% on public financed childcare, but of course parents spend lots out of pocket. Some NJ / US childcare stats NACCRRA • So a small fraction of low income families get assistance Differences within Europe
Differences within Europe
• • • More conservative/ catholic countries with ‘Christian democratic welfare states’ had less support for working mothers… and lower fertility rates
‘Universal/social democratic welfare states’ in Scandinavia had more support for working mothers and as a result higher fertility rates.
Today, Christian democratic welfare states are beginning to recognize modern realities of family life EU Impact on Gender Equality in the workplace
EU Impact on Gender Equality in the workplace
• 1957 Treaty of Rome (founding EU) established principle of equal pay for men and women
European Court of Justice interpreted ‘pay’ as including fringe benefits and eventually pensions. EU later adopts many sex equality directives: •
• equal pay (Directive 75/117)
Pregnancy (Directive 92/85/EEC )
Maternity leave and parental leave (Directive 96/34/EC )
Part time work ( Directive 97/81/EC ) • Under this law denying benefits to part time workers = ‘indirect sex discrimination” since most part time workers are women. So, part time work now comes with benefits How do you explain that?
How do you explain that? Today, women are combining employment and having children more than they did in 1980. Trade off between work and # of kids less severe. In many European countries, policies that support paid parental leave and child care subsidies facilitate combining family and work. Explanation
Explanation Today, women are combining employment and having children more than they did in 1980. Trade off between work and # of kids less severe. In many European countries, policies that support paid parental leave and child care subsidies facilitate combining family and work. ...
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- Spring '11
- European Union, parental leave, Regional policy of the European Union