Faculté des Sciences Sociales, Politiques et Economiques / Solvay Business School Année académique 2006-2007
FAMILY, WORK AND WELFARE STATES IN EUROPE: WOMEN’S JUGGLING WITH MULTIPLE ROLES
A SERIES OF EMPIRICAL ESSAYS
Thèse présentée en vue de l’obtention du grade de Docteure en Sciences Economiques par
Sous la direction de Prof. Danièle MEULDERS
MEMBERS OF THE JURY
Thesis director: Prof. Danièle Meulders, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Restricted jury : Prof. Jacques Le Cacheux, Université de Pau et OFCE Prof. Robert Plasman, Université Libre de Bruxelles Prof. François Rycx, Université Libre de Bruxelles
Prof. Maria Jepsen, Université Libre de Bruxelles et ETUI Prof. Catherine Dehon, Université Libre de Bruxelles
I would like to grasp the opportunity provided by the accomplishment of my doctoral thesis to express my sincere gratitude to a wide range of people:
Robert Plasman, for believing in my research potential and offering me a job at the DULBEA.
Not many “petites Flamandes” are given such a chance. Thanks a lot, Robert, and know that I have greatly enjoyed my work over the last five years.
Danièle Meulders, whom I would like to thank on two fronts. Firstly, as my personal mentor, for her tremendous contribution to shaping my research activities into what they are now.
She has made me understand the importance of assessing all possible research topics from a gender point of view, has been extremely patient in correcting my many mistakes and has continued to provide me with professional challenges which I so enjoy addressing. But also, on a more personal front, for her consistent support of some huge decisions that I have made over the last couple of years and that have turned my personal off-the-job life into a very happy and self-fulfilling one. I especially think of my marriage and the birth of my now 18-months old son, Simon, but also of the many occasions she has given me to travel and explore new parts of the world, as far as Barbados!!
Jérôme De Henau, with whom I have been sharing an office ever since my arrival at the DULBEA. From day to day, he has been a constant in my life, ever keen to help, ever ready to listen and to think out possible solutions with me. Not only do I admire his intellectual capacities, but he has also become one of my dearest friends. Enjoying research is one thing, but knowing every morning that there will be someone like Jérôme to enjoy it with, is still something else.
The remaining jury members, François Rycx, with whom I have always felt free to share both professional question marks and parental delights and worries, Maria Jepsen, whose enthusiasm and conviction have always inspired me, Catherine Dehon, for fitting me into her tight schedule to give me some indispensable econometric insights, and, last but not least, Jacques Le Cacheux, with whom I was involved in a European research project for three years, turning this experience into an enriching but at the same time very amicable one.
not care less about statistical problems such as endogeneity and simultaneity but he sure is a living example of the value of the research topic I have always worked on. He assumes a substantial share of household work, looks after and plays with our son and is available whenever doctor appointments need to be scheduled during the day. He has been at my side throughout my many years at college, has dragged me through the rough moments and is still there now whenever things at work do not go as I would like them to. Clearly, he has let me become the person I am today and strengthens me in my choices and decisions in a way I cannot appreciate sufficiently in words. But most importantly, he has given me an adorable son, Simon, an event that has changed my life all-round, making it so much more complete and purposeful.
All of my colleagues at the DULBEA. Some were there before me, others arrived at the same time and still others are more recent, but I feel a bond with each and every one. I would especially like to thank them for all the help they have given me over the years. It has been a great pleasure working with you.
And of course the DULBEA itself, thanks to which I disposed of all the material, logistic and financial support, that is no less needed than intellectual feedback when writing a thesis.
Finally, there is thé person to whom I want to dedicate this doctoral work very specifically and that is my dad, Cíarán O’Dorchai. My admiration for his intellect but also for his warmth as a person is infinite. For thirty-one years now, I have been looking up to him, wanting to become like him, to reach the same level of insight in the world, inner peace and wit. Thus far, I have still not succeeded, but he will continue to be my example throughout my further life. Difficult as it has been when my mother passed away, he has always been the best father anyone could wish for. For that alone, I can never thank him enough (although giving him a grandson clearly was a good move on my behalf). A dyed-in-the-wool linguist, he has never dared to comment on the economic truth of my writings but nevertheless he has faithfully read through all of the different pieces, indicating whenever I failed to explain my ideas clearly and, most importantly, correcting my use of the English language.
To conclude, it is thanks to all of the people above (and surely I have forgotten others) that I am who I am, that is a pregnant mother simultaneously pursuing a challenging professional career and a happy family life… and feeling very well!!!
ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS
The general focus of this thesis is on how the family, work and the welfare system are intertwined. A major determinant is the way responsibilities are shared by the state, the market and civil society in different welfare state regimes. An introductory chapter will therefore be dedicated to the development of the social dimension in the process of European integration. A first chapter will then go deeper into the comparative analysis of welfare state regimes, to comment on the provision of welfare in societies with a different mix of state, market and societal welfare roles and to assess the adequacy of existing typologies as reflections of today’s changed socio-economic, political and gender reality.
Although they stand strong on their own, these first two chapters also contribute to contextualising the research subject of the remainder of the thesis: the study and comparison of the differential situation of women and men and of mothers and non-mothers on the labour markets of the EU-15 countries as well as of the role of public policies with respect to the employment penalties faced by women, particularly in the presence of young children. In our analysis, employment penalties are understood in three ways: (i) the difference in full-time equivalent employment rates between mothers and non-mothers, (ii) the wage penalty associated with motherhood, and (iii) the wage gap between part-time and full-time workers, considering men and women separately. Besides from a gender point of view, employment outcomes and public policies are thus assessed comparatively for mothers and non-mothers. Because women choose to take part in paid employment, fertility rates will depend on their possibilities to combine employment and motherhood. As a result, motherhood-induced employment penalties and the role of public policies to tackle them should be given priority attention, not just by scholars, but also by politicians and policy- makers.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
MEMBERS OF THE JURY...I ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS... II ABSTRACT OF THE THESIS...IV TABLE OF CONTENTS...V LIST OF TABLES...X LIST OF FIGURES... XII COUNTRY ABBREVIATIONS... XIII
GENERAL INTRODUCTION... 1
PART I: WELFARE IN EUROPE ... 15
INTRODUCTION TO PART I ... 16
CHAPTER I:THE EUROPEAN SOCIAL MODEL VERSUS A PLURALITY OF NATIONAL WELFARE STATES: A BRIEF LOOK BACK AND AHEAD... 19
1. Introduction... 19
2. A Brief History Of Welfare In Europe... 20
3. The Progressive Development Of Social Europe ... 23
4. Contemporary Challenges And Constraints For European Welfare States ... 30
4.1. Demographic changes (ageing population and fertility decline) ... 30
4.2. Economic and labour market change ... 32
4.3. Changes in gender roles and household composition... 33
4.4. EU (and EMU) membership and enlargement ... 34
5. The Future Of Welfare In Europe... 37
5.1. Unity versus diversity in the European welfare landscape ... 37
5.2. Conceptual unity and diversity: What is the European Social Model? ... 38
5.3. Which role is and should be played by the European Social Model? ... 40
5.3.1. What is the OMC? ... 41
5.3.2. Wherein lie the OMC’s innovative advantages? ... 42
5.3.3. Wherein lies its fragility?... 44
5.3.4. Extension of the OMC to social policy fields: a problem-raising endeavour... 51
5.3.5. Improving the OMC in social policy fields ... 52
5.3.6. Ideas for future improvement ... 54
6. Conclusion... 55
CHAPTER II:THE POSITION OF MOTHERS IN ACOMPARATIVE WELFARE STATE PERSPECTIVE... 57
1. Introduction... 57
2. Welfare State Typologies Built Around The Concept Of Redistribution ... 60
3. Welfare State Typologies Based On The Interplay Between The State, The Market, And The Family………….……….61
3.1. Esping-Andersen as a catalyst for new comparative welfare state research ... 61
3.1.1. The value of typologies ... 62
3.1.2. The contestable character of Esping-Andersen’s three regime clusters... 63
3.1.3. The omitted gender dimension... 67
3.2. The aftermath of Esping-Andersen: from welfare regime to gender regime clusters ... 70
3.2.1. Classifications based on the gender division of work ... 70
3.2.2. Classifications based on the extent of work-life balance... 73
3.2.3. Classification based on the mix of in-kind and in-cash support ... 78
3.2.4. A true classification of gender regimes based on all previous dimensions ... 79
3.2.5. Conclusion ... 81
3.3. Future avenues for comparative gender regime research: The role of culture... 82
4. Conclusion... 83
CHAPTER III : THE CHILDCARE TRIAD? INDICATORS ASSESSING THREE FIELDS OF CHILD POLICIES TOWARDS WORKING MOTHERS IN THE EU-15 ... 86
1. Introduction... 86
2. Theoretical And Empirical Background... 88
3. Methodology... 90
4. Building A Childcare Indicator... 92
4.1. Combined coverage rate... 94
4.2. Child/staff ratio... 96
4.3. Public spending ... 97
4.4. The final childcare indicator and country ranking ... 98
5. Building A Maternity/Paternity Leave Indicator ... 100
6. Taking Into Consideration Parental Leave? ... 103
7. Building A Childcare-Related Direct Support Indicator... 107
8. A Childcare Triad Of Countries? ... 111
9. Conclusion... 114
10. Appendices... 121
CONCLUSION TO PART I ... 123
PART II: MOTHERS’ EMPLOYMENT AND THE INFLUENCE OF PUBLIC POLICIES... 125
CHAPTER IV:THE EFFECT OF PUBLIC POLICIES ON MOTHERS’EMPLOYMENT IN THE EU-15... 127
1. Introduction... 127
2. The Theory Of Female Labour Supply And Its Empirical Verification... 130
2.1. Influence of availability and cost of childcare on mothers’ labour supply ... 130
2.2. Influence of parental leave provision on mothers’ labour participation ... 132
2.3. Influence of educational attainments on mothers’ labour supply... 133
2.4. Cross-national comparisons of the effects of public policies... 133
3. The Measurement And Analysis Of Motherhood-Induced Employment Gaps ... 135
3.1. The general model ... 135
3.2. Labour market participation estimations... 136
3.3. Data and sample description ... 139
3.3.1. The European Community Household Panel (ECHP) ... 139
3.3.2. Sample selection... 139
3.4. Variables used in the regressions... 141
3.4.1. Age ... 142
3.4.2. Level of education... 143
3.4.3. Total net household income excluding female earnings and marital status ... 143
3.4.4. Region ... 144
3.4.5. Age of the youngest child ... 144
3.5. Regression results... 145
3.5.1. Computation of the net child effect for the pooled sample of mothers and non-mothers ... 145
3.5.2. A closer look at the role of education... 148
4. The Impact Of Public Policies On Motherhood-Induced Employment Penalties ... 152
4.1. The model... 152
4.2. The impact of public policies on the net child effect ... 153
4.3. The employment gap for mothers of infants ... 153
4.4. The employment gap for mothers of pre-school children ... 154
4.5. The employment gap for mothers of 0-5 years-olds by level of education ... 156
5. Recapturing The Country-Specific Context Of Maternal Employment, Child Policies And Fertility….……….………159
5.1. A first group: the childcare countries ... 162
5.2. A second group: the low female employment countries ... 163
5.3. A third group: the high employment penalty countries ... 164
6. Conclusion... 166
7. Appendices... 170
PART III: WAGE PENALTIES INDUCED BY MOTHERHOOD AND PART-TIME WORK... 176
INTRODUCTION TO PART III... 177
CHAPTER V :THE MOTHERHOOD WAGE PENALTY ACROSS THE WAGE DISTRIBUTION IN TEN EU-MEMBER STATES181 1. Introduction... 181
2. Theoretical Background ... 183
3. Empirical Background ... 186
4. Methodology... 189
4.1. Introduction to quantile regression ... 189
4.2. The methodology used in the first stage of this analysis ... 192
4.3. The methodology used in the second stage of this analysis... 194
4.4. Correcting for selection bias... 196
5. Data And Sample Selection ... 197
6. Descriptive Statistics... 199
7. Results ... 211
7.1. The wage penalty/bonus for mothers of one child below sixteen years of age ... 211
7.2. The wage penalty/bonus for mothers of two children under sixteen ... 215
7.3. The wage penalty/bonus for mothers of three or more children under sixteen... 218
7.4. Conclusion ... 219
7.5. Correcting for self-selection ... 221
7.6. The wage penalty/bonus for mothers along the wage distribution ... 222
8. Conclusion... 230
9. Appendices... 234
CHAPTER VI:THE PART-TIME WAGE PENALTY IN SIX EUROPEAN COUNTRIES... 240
1. Introduction... 240
2. Review Of The Literature ... 242
2.1. Theoretical background... 242
2.2. Empirical background... 245
3. The Part-Time Wage Penalty : Estimation Approaches ... 253
4. Data And Variables... 256
5. Descriptive Statistics... 258
5.1. Female part-timers ... 258
5.2. Male part-timers ... 264
6. Wage Equations And Decomposition Results... 268
6.1. Female part-timers versus full-timers... 268
6.1.1. Full-time and part-time wage regressions... 268
6.1.2 The full-time/part-time wage gap ... 269
220.127.116.11. Standard decomposition ... 269
18.104.22.168. Detailed decomposition ... 273
6.2. Male part-timers versus full-timers... 276
7. Conclusion... 279
8. Appendices... 283
CONCLUSION TO PART III... 295
GENERAL CONCLUSION... 298
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE 1:AN OVERVIEW OF WELFARE STATE TYPOLOGIES (IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)... 73
Chapter III TABLE 1:CHILD/STAFF RATIOS AND PUBLIC SPENDING ON EDUCATION... 97
TABLE 2:THE EQUIVALENT OF FULLY PAID MATERNITY/PATERNITY LEAVE AND RANKING OF COUNTRIES (2003)... 103
TABLE 3:RELATIVE AMOUNTS AND INDICES OF CHILDCARE-RELATED DIRECT SUPPORT... 109
TABLE A.I:FINAL SCORES ON THE CHILDCARE INDEX FOR THREE AGE CATEGORIES... 121
TABLE A.II:COMBINED INDEX OF ATTRACTIVENESS AND GENDER-BALANCE IN TAKE-UP (2003) ... 121
TABLE A.III:SPEARMAN CORRELATION COEFFICIENTS (P-VALUES WITHIN BRACKETS) BETWEEN THE INDICATORS USED IN THE CLUSTER ANALYSIS... 122
Chapter IV TABLE 1. RESULTS OF THE REGRESSION OF THE CHILD GAP ON CHILDCARE POLICY ELEMENTS, FOR TWO AGE CATEGORIES OF CHILDREN (YOUNGEST CHILD AGED 0-2 AND 3-5, RESPECTIVELY) ... 155
TABLE 2. RESULTS OF THE REGRESSION OF THE CHILD GAP ON OTHER CHILD POLICY ELEMENTS, FOR TWO AGE CATEGORIES OF CHILDREN (YOUNGEST CHILD AGED 0-2 AND 3-5, RESPECTIVELY) ... 156
TABLE 3.RESULTS OF THE REGRESSION OF THE NET CHILD GAP ON CHILD POLICY ELEMENTS (0-5 YEAR-OLDS) BY LEVEL OF EDUCATION... 157
TABLE 4. A THREEFOLD COUNTRY TYPOLOGY BY TYPE OF EMPLOYMENT-FERTILITY-FAMILY POLICY ADJUSTMENT MECHANISMS... 162
TABLE A.1.SAMPLE SELECTION AND ATTRITION... 170
TABLE A.2. EMPLOYMENT RATES OF WOMEN AGED 25-44 LIVING WITH THEIR PARTNERS, ACCORDING TO AGE OR NUMBER OF CHILDREN... 171
TABLE A.3. DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS REGARDING THE MAIN VARIABLES IN THE REGRESSIONS, ACCORDING TO THE PRESENCE OF CHILDREN AND THE AGE OF THE YOUNGEST CHILD (WOMEN AGED 25-44 LIVING WITH THEIR PARTNERS) ... 172
TABLE A.4. DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS REGARDING THE PRESENCE AND NUMBER OF CHILDREN (WOMEN AGED 25-44 LIVING WITH THEIR PARTNERS) ... 173
TABLE A.5.POLICY INDICATORS USED IN THE REGRESSIONS (HARMONISED)... 174
Chapter V TABLE 1:DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS FOR MOTHERS AND NON-MOTHERS... 203
TABLE 2:SUMMARY OF THE WAGE EFFECTS OF THE PRESENCE OF ONE CHILD UNDER SIXTEEN... 213
TABLE 3A:THE WAGE PENALTY/BONUS FOR MOTHERS IN THREE MODEL SPECIFICATIONS... 214
TABLE 3B:THE WAGE PENALTY/BONUS FOR MOTHERS IN A COUPLE IN THREE MODEL SPECIFICATIONS... 214
TABLE 3C:THE WAGE PENALTY/BONUS FOR LONE MOTHERS IN THREE MODEL SPECIFICATIONS... 215
TABLE 4:SUMMARY OF THE WAGE EFFECTS OF THE PRESENCE OF TWO CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN... 217
TABLE 5:SUMMARY OF THE WAGE EFFECTS OF THE PRESENCE OF THREE OR MORE CHILDREN UNDER SIXTEEN... 219
TABLE 6:SIGN OF THE ESTIMATED COEFFICIENT ASSOCIATED WITH THE SAMPLE SELECTION TERM IN THE RESTRICTED AND THE FULL MODEL... 221
TABLE 7:THE WAGE PENALTY/BONUS FOR MOTHERS ALONG THE WAGE DISTRIBUTION... 227
TABLE 8:THE WAGE PENALTY/BONUS FOR MOTHERS IN A COUPLE ALONG THE WAGE DISTRIBUTION... 228
TABLE 9:THE WAGE PENALTY/BONUS FOR LONE MOTHERS ALONG THE WAGE DISTRIBUTION... 229
TABLE A.1:FINAL SAMPLE SIZES IN THE TEN COUNTRIES... 234
TABLE A.2:DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS... 235
TABLE A.3: THE UNADJUSTED/RAW WAGE DISTRIBUTION OF MOTHERS AND NON-MOTHERS IN THE TEN COUNTRIES STUDIED (PER DECILE)... 239
Chapter VI TABLE 1A:DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS : WOMEN* ... 260
TABLE 1B:DESCRIPTIVE STATISTICS : MEN* ... 265
TABLE 2A:ESTIMATED WAGE GAPS AND OAXACA-BLINDER DECOMPOSITION... 269
TABLE 2B:ESTIMATED WAGE GAPS FOR MEN AND OAXACA-BLINDER DECOMPOSITION... 276
TABLE A.1:OVERVIEW OF THE LITERATURE... 283
TABLE A.2A:DESCRIPTION AND MEANS OF SELECTED VARIABLES: WOMEN... 285
TABLE A.2B:DESCRIPTION AND MEANS OF SELECTED VARIABLES: MEN... 287
TABLE A.3:RESULTS OF THE WAGE REGRESSIONS FOR WOMEN BY COUNTRY... 289
TABLE A.4:REGRESSION RESULTS FOR MEN CONTROLLING ONLY FOR HUMAN CAPITAL... 291
TABLE A.5:REGRESSION RESULTS FOR MEN INCLUDING THE FULL SET OF CONTROL VARIABLES... 292
LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE 1:THREE MEASURES OF CHILDCARE COVERAGE OF INFANTS (0-2 YEARS)-2003 ... 95 FIGURE 2:THREE MEASURES OF CHILDCARE COVERAGE OF PRE-SCHOOLERS (3-5 YEARS)–2003... 96 FIGURE 3:FINAL RANKING OF CHILDCARE SYSTEMS (2003)... 99 FIGURE 4: PARENTAL LEAVE POLICIES - SCORES ON ATTRACTIVENESS AND POTENTIAL GENDER-BALANCE IN TAKE-UP
(2003) ... 106 FIGURE 5:CLUSTER TREE OF THE EU-15 COUNTRIES ACCORDING TO THEIR CHILD POLICY INDICES... 112
FIGURE 1.SUMMARISING THE DIFFERENT STEPS OF OUR ANALYSIS... 136 FIGURE 2.DECOMPOSITION OF THE RELATIVE NET GAP IN FTE EMPLOYMENT RATES BETWEEN MOTHERS AND NON-
MOTHERS OF 25-44 YEARS OF AGE, ACCORDING TO THE AGE OF THE YOUNGEST CHILD – CONTRIBUTION OF DIFFERENCES IN INACTIVITY AND IN PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT... 147 FIGURE 3.NET CHILD EFFECT IN THE RELATIVE FTE EMPLOYMENT GAP BETWEEN MOTHERS OF A 0-5 YEAR-OLD AND NON-MOTHERS AGED 25-44, BY LEVEL OF EDUCATION, IN THIRTEEN COUNTRIES... 148 FIGURE 4.FTE EMPLOYMENT RATES OF NON-MOTHERS BY LEVEL OF EDUCATION... 149 FIGURE 5. DECOMPOSITION OF THE RELATIVE NET GAP IN FTE EMPLOYMENT RATES BETWEEN MOTHERS (OF A 0-5
YEAR-OLD) AND NON-MOTHERS OF 25-44 YEARS OF AGE, ACCORDING TO LEVEL OF EDUCATION – CONTRIBUTION OF INACTIVITY (INAC.CONTR.) AND REDUCED HOURS (PTIME CONTR.) ... 151 FIGURE 6:EU-15 CLASSIFICATION ACCORDING TO FERTILITY RESPONSIVENESS TO PUBLIC POLICIES AND EMPLOYMENT CONDITIONS (2001)... 161
FIGURE A.1:RELATIVE GAP IN FTE EMPLOYMENT RATES BETWEEN MOTHERS AND NON-MOTHERS OF 25-44 YEARS OF AGE, ACCORDING TO THE AGE OF THE YOUNGEST CHILD – GROSS AND NET EFFECT OF A CHILD... 175
FIGURE 1:RAW HOURLY WAGE DISTRIBUTION FOR MOTHERS AND NON-MOTHERS IN THE TEN COUNTRIES STUDIED. 209
AT = Austria BE = Belgium DE = Germany DK = Denmark EL = Greece ES = Spain FI = Finland FR = France IE = Ireland IT = Italy
LU = Luxembourg NL = Netherlands PT = Portugal SE = Sweden
UK = United Kingdom EU = European Union
“All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.” [Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest, 1895]
Industrialisation brought about a dissociation between work and home, also in spatial or physical terms, with urban development and the emergence and growth of our large modern cities. This separation of paid work and home activities meant that women, at least those from the bourgeoisie or middle-class, were excluded from the productive sphere and increasingly attached to the home and the private realm. To use an established term of Barbara Berg’s: they became “useless ladies” (Berg 1980:96). Simultaneously, the notion of the family was reassessed and its role reformulated to focus on the education and protection of children, emotional fulfilment and consumption. With the increased importance of the family as a vital societal unit, women’s role within the family growingly coincided with their role in society as a whole.
In other words, the family is both the centre and the limit of the definition of women’s activity. Whereas such a definition represented perhaps correctly the situation of middle- class or bourgeois women in the late nineteenth century, it was certainly inadequate to describe the lives of working class women. While the bourgeoisie was removed from productive activities, working class women were moving into industrial employment, a move that confronted them with the brutal social changes and conditions triggered off by industrialisation. Living and working conditions were outright appaling (urban slum dwellings and long hours). If a reason is necessary, to avoid social crisis and secure the reproduction of the labour force, these conditions needed to be improved, which is why the family was appealed to, as it was the natural guardian of the quality of the urban population’s living conditions. And consequently, given the centrality of women to the family, these concerns meant particularly an appeal to women. What is more, women, especially those of the middle-class, initiated movements to tackle the socially negative drifts of industrialisation and
urbanisation by organising services of all kinds and pushing through social reform programmes. Women’s groups started to appear ever more numerous and widespread and provided their middle-class female founders with an opportunity to get out of the isolation of the home whilst working toward social change. Their motives to come together were multiple: a reaction to the restrictions the ideology of “separate spheres” put on women’s role and activity, compassionate feelings with respect to the conditions endured by working class women as well as more general social concern for the appaling conditions of urban existence that were fertile ground for an outburst of social discontent.
In this sense, women were important social actors in the early stages of development of the welfare state because, not only did they design services and programmes but, very often, they also lobbied for government intervention. The welfare state is then understood as the taking over by the government of responsibilities that were previously not part of the public sector. These responsibilities or activities mostly targeted the reproduction of the labour force. Workers must be housed and looked after when sick, they must also be supported in between employment spells and future workers must be educated and trained. In the post World War II period, the state has increasingly assumed responsibility for all of these tasks.
The post-war period was thus one of profound social change. Indeed, given the traditional gender-based division of labour in modern societies, family responsibilities had always been and still were, generally speaking, women’s responsibilities. As a result, the transfer of activities from the private to the social realm had a dramatic impact on women even though they actively contributed to social change, they were not simply passive recipients of it. This active role of women is, for that matter, a fact that has been heavily stressed in all areas of feminist scholarship.
Most explanatory efforts as to why such a shift of responsibilities from the private to the social sphere occurred rely largely on economics and the primacy of the productive system which could not survive without the guarantee of a stable and continuing labour force. As a result, gender was never a major variable in the analysis of this process. Nevertheless, and here again we agree with Andrew (1984:669) “the politics of the activities of reproducing the labour force ought also to be examined”. She further notes that studies that have focused on the evolution from the private realm to the public one have granted more attention to religion than to the family, so that once again gender was not a major approach. But more than this, in the progressive development of the welfare state and the taking over by the state of the control of, and, more often, responsibility for, an increasing number of social
services, institutions and programmes, it became more and more common for the state to decide itself on the forms of its own interventions. This development also had a dramatic impact on women, this time not in their role as levers of social change but instead in their role as public sector employees. This is exactly what Haavio-Mannila (1983:61) pointed out.
With the gradual replacement of both the private and the informal realm by public welfare and social service institutions in assuming caregiving tasks, nothing changed in terms of who was really providing these services. Indeed, whereas before women predominantly performed these functions for free in the home, they now continued to do so but outside the home and for pay. However, at this stage, it is important to underscore the negative note by Andrew (1984:676): “What we find in the modern welfare state is that although women are very present as workers of the state, they are not in the most powerful positions. They are the executants and not the deciders.” Indeed, be it female workers in the public sector or on the labour market of the private sector, they face a harsh problem of both occupational and inter-industry segregation. Extremely numerous are the studies of the glass ceiling/sticky floor and its effect on women’s career development.
In the subsequent phases of their development welfare states first witnessed a trend towards professionalisation of all employment created by their expansion. This drive towards professionalisation led to a subordination of the role of women. Indeed, professionalisation often translated into masculinisation of welfare professions. Later on, women regained access to welfare professions. Indeed, nowadays, these are almost entirely feminised and offer rather poor wage and working conditions.
Finally, besides being held back by the gender division of labour in the pursuit of a satisfactory professional career, women are penalised by the informal norms of promotion.
Typical is the Finnish example of weekly sauna evenings amongst colleagues on which female workers necessarily drop out, if not because Finnish sauna’s are usually uni-sex, then because their second shift awaits at home. Nevertheless, it is precisely during these so-called informal outings that important company policy issues are discussed and candidates for promotion picked out.
Thirdly and finally, women have an impact on the welfare state by being its clients. Elderly women are the most poverty-prone group in modern societies. It is easy to understand why this is so. First of all, women’s careers are much shorter on average than men’s, their household and care responsibilities thus make it impossible for them to accumulate as much
earned income over the years as men. Moreover, throughout their working life, they suffer important wage penalties compared with men, a second reason for the lower income accumulation by women. And, finally, there is their higher life expectancy. Because of all of these factors, many women are extremely poor and dependent in their old age. Moreover, lone mothers represent one of the most rapidly growing groups in our societies. Just like the elderly, they form a huge group of beneficiaries of welfare services. Nevertheless, although the reality of family organisation has changed greatly over the last half century (lesbian couples, homosexual couples, single moms and dads, recomposed households after divorce, and so forth), often welfare programmes remain designed as though the whole of society were organised neatly in nuclear families. Pension plans, for example, assume that women will be provided for by men in their old age. This discordance between welfare programmes and the reality of social and family life illustrates that the welfare state is not just a set of programmes, institutions and services, but more so, a set of ideas about society, the family and women. In other words, the relationship between the welfare state on the one hand, and its female clientele on the other, is fundamentally ambiguous. Without wanting to put to question the usefulness of welfare programmes and services, it is the case that they convey certain ideas, if not stereotypes, about which roles are appropriate and for whom and about which behaviour is considered standard. In the case of women, this ambiguity also becomes clear in the fact that women receive assistance from the welfare state but, in return, this assistance makes them more dependent on welfare programmes and services. To quote Leira (2000:114): “In material terms, the welfare state meant real gains for women. Welfare state reforms increased women’s property in their persons in two fundamental ways: women gained control over fertility and biological reproduction and, women’s economic dependence on individual men substantially decreased. Women have strongly opted for this shift in control. Still, the “woman question” is not resolved. Women are not integrated in the welfare state on equal terms with men, unless they behave like men with respect to work and family obligations, what very few women actually do.”
Be it as it may, the welfare state is an integral part of women’s lives. However, given that the welfare state is still mainly worked out within national boundaries (we argue throughout the first part of this thesis that national welfare states will not soon be replaced by a common European model), countries demonstrate gender differentials around work, care and welfare – differences that are related to the welfare state.
The recent wave of restructuring and modernisation that European welfare states are going through and the trend towards flexibilisation of work that has led to an ever more diversified pattern of women’s life and working situations have a very dual impact on women. The traditional breadwinner model has come under fire given the trend towards individualisation that is observed both, as regards work and, as regards welfare. However, as it was pointed out by many authors, e.g. Lewis (2000) and Jepsen and Meulders (2002), individualisation has only come half way as concerns women. Indeed, individualisation of work has resulted in an overwhelming share of women in part-time employment, read precarious jobs, across Europe. As such, individualisation cannot guarantee economic independence. This is even more true given women’s much more frequent care-related career interruptions. Therefore, degendering care responsibilities would mean an important step forward towards the individualisation of work. An important critique of the scenario that is currently devolving in many European countries is, therefore, that efforts to conceptualise and consolidate the individualised worker model tend to ignore the care side of the equation. Many women are thus faced with new problems (Lewis 2000, Knijn 2000). As regards individualisation of welfare, there is an equally long way to go still. The gender bias in income-related social security benefits persists. In many countries women’s social rights still derive to some extent from the fact that they form a household with a male breadwinner, or, in other words, from the economic activity of their husbands. The result of this lack of individualisation in work and welfare is an overall income gap, women accumulating less income than men over the life cycle. A major consequence of this income gap is that economic risks and dependencies are distributed unevenly according to sex.
More generally speaking, as we noted already, in many countries, there is a lack of correspondence between the actual reality of social and family life and the policy responses provided through the welfare state. Moreover, despite substantial cross-country variation, a general trend that is observed is the rise of a welfare mix. The term “welfare mix” refers to a mix of policy concepts with a long and solid historical background – but that never entirely mirror reality –, and new policy initiatives that arise to address emerging new needs of different kinds – and that not always follow the general thread of the existing policy framework. For example, childcare policies do not necessarily evolve from a wish to respond to working mothers’ needs, but they might just as well stem from concern with demographic trends, budget constraints and/or socio-political interests.
Equally diverse motives may exist to encourage women to enter the labour market. That is why the adult worker model is often not introduced in all fields. Indeed, social policy is often squeezed between the objective to reproduce and expand a stable labour force and the need to facilitate the “Combination scenario” (a concept to summarise the idea that two adults should combine and share work and care responsibilities on the basis of reduced waged labour time, cfr. also Knijn (2000)). The tenuous, not to say conflicting, relation between these two approaches jeopardises cohesion in care policies. Instead, many countries are characterised by a diffuse, fragmented, and incoherent set of care policies. To increase the consistency of care policies within the national context, (i) a consensus needs to be reached about what kind of care policies should be developed, (ii) the financial motives of governments should be separated from others when it comes to promoting women’s participation in the labour market, (iii) a clear balance is needed between those care issues that are to be dealt with centrally and those that are transferred to a more decentralised level of decision-making, and (iv) despite recent cutbacks in public policy, a workable budget should be left available for social matters.
Ever since Alva Myrdal and Viola Klein finished their masterpiece, Women’s Two Roles, in the mid-1960s, in which they fiercely defended the right of married women to take on outside paid work, the work/life balance has increasingly received attention. Indeed, the reconciliation of work and family responsibilities has come ever more at the forefront of the minds of social researchers and policy analysts in the Nordic countries1. Moreover, family policy reform in these countries has been guided by reconciliation concerns. Although women’s labour market entrance started earlier in the North of Europe, it soon became an important characteristic of all European labour markets. By 2003, on average throughout the EU-25, the employment rate was at 75.1 per cent for women aged 20-49 with no children under twelve, at 64.8 per cent for women with one child under twelve, at 57.8 per cent for women with two children under twelve and at 41.2 per cent in the presence of three or more children under twelve (Eurostat 2005b). These figures show that there is just a slight decline in employment at the arrival of the first child but a somewhat larger fall back in the presence of multiple children. Nevertheless, mothers found access to the labour market and have become a group of workers of considerable weight. Or, in other words, when it comes to combining childcare and employment, motherhood models or practices appear to converge
1 Note that the term “Nordic countries” generally refers to a region in Northern Europe consisting of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden. This is also the sense in which the term is used throughout this thesis. However, when we refer to our own findings, “Nordic” is limited to Denmark, Sweden and Finland, given that we study the EU-15 countries.
more rapidly than do the policies of welfare states. Indeed, no evidence can be found of a unique policy response to this massive labour market entrance of mothers with young children. The concept of the employed mother incorporates two activities that are essential to any society, material provision and human reproduction and care for offspring (Leira 2000). Thus, it transcends the traditional representation of the gendered division of labour in a way that the concept of the employed father does not.
The relationship between female employment rates and the level of support for working mothers in a certain country is not always straightforward. As the French example reveals, a high level of childcare can nevertheless work selectively, favouring some mothers over others (unequal provision between municipalities; urban-rural differences; depending on whether it is means-tested or not, there is substantial disparity in the cost of childcare, although subsidized; lack of flexibility in opening hours of facilities, excluding mothers with evening or early morning work schedules, and so forth). Such a situation stems, at least partly, from confused policy priorities. In France, social policies to support mothers’
employment are implicitly discriminating and selective, whatever their neutral gender presentation may suggest, and this is because the primary political intention behind these policies is not the reconciliation of working and mothering, but a reduction of unemployment or an increase in the labour force (Wierink 2000).
Moreover, the construction of social rights varies considerably across Western Europe. The extent to which care for dependent people is a public or private responsibility differs too. In the Nordic countries, the formal obligations to the family are minimal and state provision is generally individualised. In most other Western European welfare states, the private, family- based responsibility for care provision is more pronounced.
In sum, early analyses of the welfare state have given little consideration, neither to women as primary caregivers in the private sphere, nor to their active role in the construction of the welfare state. The welfare state thus became firmly entrenched across the developed world, while generally overlooking the gender gap. Although gender inequalities still persist at present, significant cross-national differences in terms of gender-friendly practices and policies can be highlighted: for example, Sweden is generally considered to have a highly progressive welfare state whereas German mothers continue to face harsh reconciliation problems (cfr. part II of the present thesis). To stimulate the full transition in all countries from a view of the welfare state as a patriarchal institution to a more appropriate
conceptualisation drawing on a more gendered or even feminist approach, we believe Naomi Black already provided us with part of the answer in 1983: “Social feminists believe that women have produced a set of values and practical skills that are excluded, along with women, from the larger society that is organised and run by men. […] An authoritative public role for women is therefore necessary to improve the defective social system” (Black 1983:300)2
Note, finally, that the use of family-related variables in European labour market data sources is often limited. This has negative implications for the precision with which the need for policy interventions can be identified and appropriate policy responses developed.
These introductory notes touch the core research questions addressed in this thesis. Its overall focus is on women’s multiple roles as mothers, wives, carers, workers, etc. Indeed, statistical evidence abundantly shows that the choice between professional and family life is no longer binary, most women try to combine these different spheres. More or less successfully, as we will show, according to whether or not they can bow on a supportive policy framework. Social policies in Europe have a longstanding history that cannot and should not be denied. Indeed, the post-World War II period in Europe was characterised by the emergence of different social protection systems or welfare states that have more or less supported women in their strive towards achieving a balanced mix of familial, professional and personal fulfilment.
To understand why the topic of how the family, work and the welfare system are intertwined and how women juggle with their multiple roles deserves such extensive research attention, note that the reproduction, expansion even, of the labour force is of crucial importance to today’s policy-makers responsible for securing the long-term viability of the social security
2 In her review of Black’s book, Hekman (1990) provides some interesting background information.
Black divides feminism into two opposed categories: equity feminism and social feminism. Equity feminists want to make women equal to men; social feminists, on the other hand, want to emphasize women’s difference from men, valorise that difference, and derive a public role for women from their private role. So, according to social feminism, women seek empowerment and autonomy through the specificity of their place as women. Central to Black’s definition of social feminism is women’s role in the family. This role motivates women to provide social services to an extended family – society as a whole. It is this perspective that defines social feminism’s impetus for social reform. She argues that social feminism provides a rationale for women to act differently in politics, to reject its more
“characteristically masculine and undesirable aspects” (Black:243). Although she admits that social feminism entails certain organisational risks (particularly the threat of maternal dominance), she nevertheless argues that the practical activism generated by social feminism is the most powerful position available to feminism today (anno 1983).
system. Moreover, policy-makers across Europe agree on the fact that employment is the most effective guarantee to stay out or to get out of poverty. On a more personal front, employment plays an important role in forming one’s identity and contributes to overall life fulfilment. Also, in today’s context of transformed and transforming family composition, employment is an indispensable link in the chain towards economic and financial autonomy.
All these arguments imply, to put it bluntly, that women should work, bear children and that these children should be able to grow up into capable, healthy and active citizens. As a result, motherhood-induced employment penalties and the role of public policies to tackle them should be given priority attention by politicians and policy-makers.
A major determinant of how the family, work and the welfare system are intertwined is the way responsibilities are shared by the state, the market and civil society in different welfare state regimes. This brings us to our first research question.
Question 1: Given that welfare systems are generally based on a state-market-family nexus, what exactly is meant by “the state” – is it the state as a supra-national authority given the way European countries are tied into the EU or rather the national state? To answer this question, we analyse the development of the social dimension in the process of European integration or the emergence of a social Europe.
The comprehensive restructuring of the economic and social system in industrial societies has shaken up the basis of welfare state systems. On the one hand, persistent high unemployment and a growing risk of social exclusion have increased the demand for social protection while, on the other hand, the strong impact of economic liberalism at the politico- economic level has led to policies of retrenchment, at least with respect to certain branches of social protection, and tight control of public expenditures. Parallel to these developments, European countries have engaged in a process of integration with the creation and evolution of the European Union. Although primarily of an economic nature, Member States have accepted the need for a social dimension to this Union. However, agreement is more difficult to obtain when it comes to determining the extent to which this social Europe is and should be developed and the instruments that should be used.
When we look through a closer lens, we find that there is not one European model, but European integration is built on a “variable geometry” of partially overlapping social
institutions and sets of national models that co-exist in the core and periphery (Ebbinghaus, 1999). The answer to our first question thus logically raises a new question.
Question 2: How do welfare state regimes founded on a different mix of state, market and societal/family welfare roles compare in terms of welfare provision, gender-friendliness and support for dual-earners with children?
Research here focuses on the design, development and cross-country differences in welfare states. In recent decades, several typologies of welfare states were established in order to provide an answer to the question whether welfare states are quite similar to others or whether, instead, they are rather unique specimens. Welfare state typologies have needed to develop or, in other words, typology-builders have gradually needed to incorporate an ever increasing number of variables into their analysis of welfare states in order to stay in line with social attitudes and ideas as well as with political and economic reality. To this should be added the specific challenges that increased female labour market participation and changing family patterns present for mainstream welfare state models. Indeed, the feminist forum has pointed to numerous inadequacies of many typologies with respect to the new work/life balance of modern women who refuse to be confined to home-making. At this stage in the thesis, we aim at contributing to the debate regarding the explanatory power of welfare state typologies while assessing the issue not just from the point of view of women but rather from that of mothers. While women’s increased presence on the labour market results mainly from their emancipatory battle which has stirred the move from the traditional male-breadwinner to a dual-earner model, the labour participation of mothers combines both emancipation effects and huge time-sharing challenges. Taking into account the set of elements relevant to mothers, this chapter examines the theoretical and empirical value of typologies based on ideal-types. The main finding is that, although welfare states are hardly ever pure types and are usually hybrid cases, well-constructed typologies that are close reflections of today’s changed gender and socio-economic structure, even if still very scarce, do play an important role as instruments to develop more general conclusions on the ways in which welfare states across Europe accommodate to the specific needs of women with children.
Although they stand strong on their own, these first two chapters provide the necessary contextualisation for the research subject of the remainder of this thesis: the study and comparison of the differential situation of women and men, and especially of mothers and
non-mothers, on the labour markets of the EU-15 countries as well as of the role of public policies with respect to the employment penalties faced by women, particularly in the presence of young children. To close off the first part of this thesis, a third chapter is added in which a new typology of EU-15 welfare states is proposed, based on a comparison of public policies to support dual-earner couples with children.
Question 3: How do public policies to help women have children while pursuing a career (public childcare, maternity/paternity leaves, childcare benefits) compare across the EU-15?
We first build and then profoundly analyse various synthetic policy indicators based on a collection we made of available, accurate, quantitative and qualitative data covering all relevant dimensions of child policies in the EU-15 countries. This analysis includes an assessment of parental leaves from a very critical stance. Based on existing theoretical and empirical findings on the effects of child policies on female and mothers’ employment and on the indicators that summarise the quantitative and qualitative early childhood data, (i) countries’ relative position in each of the policy fields is assessed; (ii) a new country typology is drawn up by showing which type of policy is most promoted and whether countries choose either one policy or sequentially/simultaneously implement a bundle of policies. These rankings shed important insight into the way public policy facilitates today’s families’ choices as to time allocation, labour participation, leisure, and so forth. Note also that in evaluating a country’s efforts, particular attention was paid to the implications for gender equality of existing support schemes.
The subject of the second part of this thesis is formulated across one central research question, the answer to which heavily relies on the comparative outcomes for the EU-15 countries in terms of their policy settings to facilitate the work/life balance.
Question 4: To what extent do mothers’ and non-mothers’ labour market conditions differ throughout the EU-15 and which role do public policies play with respect to the employment penalties associated with the presence of young children?
At this stage, motherhood-induced employment penalties are understood and measured as the difference in full-time equivalent employment rates between mothers and non-mothers.
Special attention is given to education, in that the negative labour market consequences that derive from the presence of young children are evaluated for mothers with different levels of