Presentation on theme: "Within household gender inequalities in resources and entitlements: policy implications Fran Bennett, Jerome De Henau, Susan Himmelweit, Sirin Sung and."— Presentation transcript:
Within household gender inequalities in resources and entitlements: policy implications Fran Bennett, Jerome De Henau, Susan Himmelweit, Sirin Sung and Holly Sutherland GeNet WHIPP workshop, 11-12 March 2010, Oxford Project 5: Within Household Inequalities and Public Policy
2 Outline One approach: Identifying (dis)equalising factors in terms of economic autonomy and command over financial resources relevant to policy-making Drawing specific implications for policy and research about gender equality and women’s autonomy Three components: Policy simulation using POLIMOD tax-benefit microsimulation models Quantitative analysis of BHPS data Qualitative research based on interviews with individuals in 30 low/moderate income couples
3 ‘Redistribution’ through taxes and benefits Major driver of inequality of income within working age couples is differences in earned income in 72% of couples women have the lower original income; they receive 38% of the total overall Gaps in income within couples can be mitigated by the effects of taxes and benefits – for example, via: progressive income taxes individual earnings-replacement or cost-related benefits The size of the gap is reduced by around 14 percentage points on average For most couples, main driver narrowing gap in incomes is income tax, followed by NICs
4 Role of benefits / tax credits gap is narrowed by more if the man has the lower income individual earnings replacement benefits: bigger role for men; cost-related benefits: similar for both Child benefits have the largest m->f equalising effects among low income couples - if we assume that they are mothers’ income In-work benefits widen the gap between partners’ incomes: more for female breadwinner couples than for male breadwinner couples
5 Policy implications Gaps in income within couples can be reduced by taxes and benefits – but (gendered) differences in work patterns, pay and care result in asymmetrical effects for women and men Analysis of policy changes usually ignores both women’s role as ‘conduit’ of resources for others and any impact of changes on roles or relationships And also treats the distribution of resources within households as an equitably resolved private issue especially for low/moderate income couples: assumption of jointness in the assessment of means-tested benefits also for low income partners in higher income couples
6 Gender analysis of household panel data Representative BHPS data: couples’ views over time could be matched to analyse common and differing influences on man’s and woman’s satisfaction with household income Shared views – e.g. : Both partners were dissatisfied by man being unemployed Both partners were dissatisfied by woman being unemployed (though less so than by the man being unemployed) But there are also differences – e.g. : Though both more dissatisfied by man’s unemployment than by woman’s, this was not to the same extent for woman as for man Relatively each valued their own employment more Why? Unemployment reduced power within household?
7 Shared views reinforce inequalities Similar, though less extreme, pattern of shared and different views with respect to disability, particular employment statuses and domestic work: On average, couple more concerned by man’s disability, less than fulltime employment status, hours of domestic work than woman’s Relatively being disabled, not being employed FT or doing much domestic work led to less satisfaction with household income (and power over it?) Where do such shared gendered views come from? Recognition of external constraints? Gender norms? If couples act on these shared views, they may increase immediate household financial satisfaction by reinforcing gender inequalities within and beyond the household
8 Policy implications (1) In practice, decisions in accord with currently shared views can have deleterious long-term consequences for women (and perhaps men) To assess the intra-household gender effect of policies need to consider: immediate intra-household distributional impact as policy simulation did and the differences in views may capture effects on joint household decisions based on shared gendered views behavioural impact on gender roles ( challenging or reinforcing them) consequent effects on intra-household power and distribution NB: there may also be inter-household gendered effects
9 Policy implications (2) Giving couples ‘choice’: is not the same as giving individuals choice may result in choices in the short-term interests of the couple rather than of the individuals within it, e.g. in case of divorce may be against women’s long-term interests and autonomy To challenge gender inequalities and break cycle, need to loosen the economic constraints and/or gender norms giving rise to: shared gendered views and differential power within the household.
10 Jointness in low-income couples This may be particularly important for lower income couples, for whom jointness may be more of a necessity Semi-structured separate interviews with members of 30 low/moderate income couples to uncover within household processes and power relations did reveal clear loyalty to sharing finances (‘all in one pot’) Drivers: long-standing relationships; children as joint project; putting money together makes it stretch further? Joint bank accounts not good indicator of degree of jointness; but joint finances seen as symbol of trust
11 But more complex picture But underlying this was a more complex picture – e.g.: some clear gendered inequalities in access to/use of money some differentiation of roles along traditional lines women more aware of tensions between togetherness and individual interests and importance of money in own right Previous research confirms importance of source, purpose, recipient and labelling of income, and how it is managed/controlled, for how it is used and who benefits Common pattern of man’s wage paid into joint account, benefits/tax credits paid into woman’s own account – attempt to balance resources / reflecting gender roles?
12 Implications for policy Some women in low/moderate-income couples valued right to income that (e.g.) carer’s allowance gave them But felt exploited and under-valued (seeing it as a wage) May explain carers’ reactions to work focused interviews? Benefits often seen as belonging to/for family; but financial deprivation for women could be due to managing role or to their desire for independence (Gendered) unequal access to resources recognised in paying child benefit to mothers by default – but Negative reaction to ‘main carer’ for child tax credit May reinforce (gendered) division of labour?
13 Conclusions: implications for policy oriented research Analyse impact of policy on individuals where possible, not just (e.g.) ‘net tax rate’ for families (common in UK, where income maintenance is family/poverty focused) Examine tensions between policies based on individuals (e.g. labour market activation) and on joint assessment/ownership (benefits/tax credits) In-kind provision may not carry same risks as income? Consider impact of redistribution within household on longer-term roles and relationships, not just on amount of money immediately transferred