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Setting the Scene. Gender equality and the crisis: the role of equality bodies. Francesca Bettio University of Siena ENEGE Network.

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Presentation on theme: "Setting the Scene. Gender equality and the crisis: the role of equality bodies. Francesca Bettio University of Siena ENEGE Network."— Presentation transcript:

1 Setting the Scene. Gender equality and the crisis: the role of equality bodies. Francesca Bettio University of Siena ENEGE Network

2 This presentation Lessons from the crisis Evidence and analysis from the ENEGE report ‘The impact of the crisis on women and men and on gender equality policies’ (www. Role of equality bodies Some food for thought and for discussion

3 Lessons’ from the crisis Misleading gender scoreboards The gaps trap Women are no longer the employment buffer Entitlements in need of revision The unintended consequences of fiscal consolidation Beyond the crisis: recommendations

4 1 Headline gender gaps leveled downward……. Between 2008 and 2012 (2 nd quarter) men’s employment rate (15-64 yrs.)went down from 72.9 % to 69.8 %, whereas the female rate decreased from 58.9 % to 58.7 %. Female unemployment was much higher to start with and it increased as the recession thickened, but not as much as male unemployment. On several occasions the male rate was higher than the female rate. Earnings decreased for men and women, but less sharply for the latter. In 2011 the gender pay gap in unadjusted form stood at 16.2% in the EU as a whole, down from 17.7 in 2006. Many more women than men were inactive before the crisis, and the disproportion remains to date, but the gender inactivity gap was lower in 2012. Income poverty is, and remains, more widespread among women, but in the two initial years of the recession the increase was higher for men. The crisis also appears to have adversely affected health behaviour. Drug addiction, smoking, and heavy drinking appear to have been on the rise in more than one European country, especially among men.

5 Gaps levelling downward: employment rates

6 Gaps levelling ‘downward’ :unemployment rates

7 Gaps levelling downwards: inactivity rates 34.1

8 He-cession or she-session?: misleading scoreboards 1……but men were not consistently worse off While male dominated manufacturing suffered severe job losses, women lost proportionately more employment than men in Europe as a whole The average European worker with tertiary education was comparatively shielded from dismissals in this as in previous crises, but this was not the case for women in some Baltic and Mediterranean countries. The gender gap repeatedly reversed at European level, as noted, but this obscures the fact there are still 15 countries where unemployment remains higher for women. Unpaid work is likely to have gone up and women are likely to have shouldered the largest increase, though the evidence is slim Above all, we are not out of the recession yet and we do not know yet the future and final impact of the downsizing of welfare on women’s fertility and their labour market position.

9 2. The gaps trap If labour market outcomes are more similar for men and women now than they were before the crisis, this is largely because everybody has become worse off, men a bit more than women. Does such leveling downward conform to our idea of progress in equality? 10 Member States were above the 65 % employment rate mark for women before the recession, down to 7 in 2012. Does this constitute progress in gender equality? Measurement issue: gender gaps do not measure women’s disparities in some absolute sense but only relatively to the men. Current gap indicators ought to be flanked by some other indicators to assess progress over time. For example, the difference between the actual female employment rate and a target value (75%?)

10 Women are no longer the employment buffer The idea of women playing the role of buffers has been conclusively refuted in Europe and elsewhere. The ‘buffers’ of this crisis are young workers on temporary and other atypical employment contracts – men and women - as well as migrant workers, the men more than the women. Women as a whole were spared the role of buffers not only thanks to a comparatively favourable distribution across sectors and occupations, but also because they resisted exiting the labour market or decided to enter it afresh despite adverse demand conditions. Dual earner couples lost considerable ground (-5.1 % share) early on in the recession (2008 and 2009), but this was almost entirely compensated for by the increase in female breadwinner couples. Women retain the majority of all discouraged workers at EU level, but in percentage terms the share of discouraged workers over the inactive population has gone up more among male workers (+2.0 % against +1.2 %). The percentage increase in involuntary part-timers was higher for men, but the absolute increase was much larger among women. 3. Women no longer are the employment buffer

11 Working conditions deteriorated (from delays in wage payments and occupational downgrading to violations of health and safety regulations or (normal) or of parental rights). Overall, there is no conclusive evidence showing which of male or female workers were the most frequent targets of rights restrictions unemployment and atypical employment expanded. This meant an increase in the number of women with restricted access to fundamental rights such as maternity benefits Non standard forms of employment prevail among young men and women in their family formation years. The crisis has brought to the fore the issue of restricted access to fundamental rights for atypical workers (and for the unemployed) 4. Revision of entitlements to face a ‘liquid’ market

12 In 2012 there were: nearly 14 million women on temporary work contract in Europe, most of them young; 7.2 m. unemployed and 3.2 million self employed women of reproductive age. Depending on the country first time job seekers or holders of non standard contracts (e.g. stagiere or in Italy) are not entitled to maternity benefits; Also, temporary employees or the self- employed may be entitled to lower beneftis In 2011 Italy, for example, 27% of mothers were not entitled to benefits; some of these mothers were stagiere or first time job seeker. Do we need longer leave for those already entitled or more universal entitlements and more flexibility of use (e.g. part-time leave in all MS?)

13 The unintended consequences of fiscal consolidation Retrenchment in welfare provisions in the first years of the crisis was contained, albeit uneven. up until 2010 the general trend has been for countries to preserve the provision of services relatively more than cash benefit schemes, In these early crisis years education and training appear to have been less affected by budget cuts and national strategies have focused on extending pre-school and out-of-school programmes. The development in childcare for very young children was uneven. Coverage worsened in several countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Romania and Spain) but little change in the aggregate. 5. The unintended consequences of fiscal consolidation

14 The unintended consequences of fiscal consolidation 5. Risks of a two-tier gender equality regime for Europe? We do not know much about retrenchment in public provisions and welfare benefits after 2010 Retrenchment was limited in countries with moderate fiscal consolidation programmes such as Finland or the Netherlands; or there was attention to partly compensate for adverse effects on women or the poorest. In contrast, evidence for Spain, Greece Ireland is alarming (increase in poverty and some groups of women being especially hit; downsizing of the equality machinery, retrenchment in care provisions, elderly care in particular and much more) Is fiscal consolidation making gender equality ‘affordable’ only in the North of Europe?

15 1. Member States should be encouraged to adopt gender budgeting procedures for key policies. Each main austerity policy, spending review or stimulus package should be audited at design stage and after implementation. 2. Social expenditure should prioritise quality services over cash benefits Recovery funds should be directed towards social and care infrastructure. 3. The European Social Fund should be strengthened and its procedures reviewed, so that it can serve to compensate for cuts in local provision and to sustain Europe 2020 goals, particularly in Member States with low female employment. 4. Income support schemes should be gender mainstreamed. Tax and social expenditure should focus on advancing women’s and men's financial independence. 5. A ‘critical mass’ female representation should be ensured in high level boards of key Eu-ropean financial institutions.Financial literacy initiatives targeting women should also be supported. 6. New gender equality indicators should be developed to track progress over time. 7. Surveillance of violations of maternity and leave rights should be increased and public awareness of this issue should be heightened. Beyond the crisis: recommendations

16 Which role for equality bodies? Some food for thought: Gender Mainstreaming or Diversity Management? Equality machineries: a more decisive shift towards monitoring and assessing outcomes, including economic? The FSE and investment in social infrastructure


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