should be broadened to include womens share of board and executive roles in the

Should be broadened to include womens share of board

This preview shows page 5 - 7 out of 24 pages.

should be broadened to include women’s share of board and executive roles in the workplace and the policies that support this. The next section sets the background by outlining considerations of gender within comparative welfare state research. The third section then directs this literature’s attention to the underrepresentation of women at the board and executive-management levels and the gender discrimination at the root of this. The fourth section discusses the mechanisms
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6 through which increasing women’s share of board and executive positions can help to address gendered social risks further down the labour market. Subsequently, the fifth section delineates some of the limitations and caveats to this argument. The sixth section concludes. The Analysis of Gender and Social Policy Traditionally, social policy research has been concerned with the provision of state services or transfers to reduce individuals ’ dependence on market incomes (e.g. Esping-Andersen, 1990). In the last decades, however, feminist scholars have pointed out that this conceptualisation ignores and implicitly relies on the care work carried out by women in the home for no pay. Accordingly, they have argued for the integration of state policies related to reproduction and care into social policy analysis (e.g. Orloff, 1993; Lister, 1997). Scholars of the welfare state have taken up some (but not all) of the themes identified by feminists for ‘gendering’ social policy analysis (Orloff, 2009a). One body of literature highlights the importance of women’s increased employment for explaining welfare state restruct uring and women’s greater poverty risks under post -industrialism. According to this literature, women’s mass en try into employment and the care deficit resulting from the decline of the stay-at-home mother have created a set of so-called ‘new social risks (e.g. Bonoli, 2005). These new risks include lone parenthood and conflicts between caring for family members and employment, which arise most acutely for women due to the gendered division of family responsibilities. Women ’s disproportionate care respon sibilities also mean that they are more likely than men to deviate from full-time, continuous employment, exposing them to the additional new social risk of inadequate social security coverage. For instance, part-time work and career interruptions, togethe r with women’s greater representation in low -paying occupations and sectors, often result in reduced pension entitlements in old-age and an associated greater risk of income poverty for female pensioners (e.g. Bonoli, 2003). A related framing within mainstream comparative welfare state research that also attends to gender is the social investment literature. Again, addressing the trade- off’ between motherhood and employment is the central gendered issue (Jenson, 2015). This literature argues that stimulating fertility is necessary for preventing a demographic crisis given population ageing and increased longevity. Proponents of social investment additionally argue
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