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1 Ethnic differences in womens labour market participation over the life course Angela Dale and Sameera Ahmed University of Manchester I am grateful to.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Ethnic differences in womens labour market participation over the life course Angela Dale and Sameera Ahmed University of Manchester I am grateful to."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Ethnic differences in womens labour market participation over the life course Angela Dale and Sameera Ahmed University of Manchester I am grateful to the Leverhulme Trust for funding this research

2 2 Womens economic activity Life-stage and level of qualifications have a big impact on womens employment – Work started by the Women and Employment Survey in 1980 continued with work on cohort studies (Joshi, Dex) –Recent decades have seen increasing levels of employment amongst women with dependent children –associated with greater freedom to choose /better child-care/ greater equality/ individualisation but also with concerns about the double-shift etc. I want to explore differences between ethnic groups, with a particular focus on Pakistani and Bangladeshi women and how we understand their choices and constraints

3 3 Data & definitions Labour Force Survey for 1992-2003/5 Women aged 19-60; FT students excluded Economic activity= in work + ILO unemployed Focus on Pakistani and Bangladeshi women but also some information on White, Black Caribbean, Indian and Chinese women

4 4 Interviews with UK born Pakistani and Bangladeshi women Interviews with 18 UK-born Pakistani and Bangladeshi women in Rochdale and Manchester Earlier interviews in Oldham, 43 Pakistani and Bangladeshi women, all ages Asked about employment aspirations and barriers to employment

5 5 Level of economic activity, women aged 19-60, 2001-5

6 6 Key lifestages (1) Women aged 19-34, no partner, no child under 16 (2) Women aged 19-34, with a partner, no child under 16 (3) Women with child under 5 and partner (4) Woman with child under 5 and no partner (5) Women with child 5-15 and partner (6) Women with child 5-15 and no partner (7) Women aged 35-59 with partner, no children under 16 (8) Women aged 35-59 with no partner and no children under 16 Women with a child under 16 in the household may be of any age from 19-60.

7 7 Level of economic activity, women 19-34, no partner, no children (1)

8 8 Economic activity, women aged 19-34, no child, no partner, 1992-2005

9 9 What does paid work mean? Focus on Pakistani and Bangladeshi women

10 10 Role of paid work.. I suppose its all to do with security, with me because when you get married – pay for your wedding, you have to build your life, get a house – basically all them things. Thats what working is for, I guess. I suppose for your head as well, itll be good – its good to sort of work, socialise with others… Yeah – youll go crazy if youre sat at home five days a week. Pakistani graduate, 22, single

11 11 paid work was not always the default option 'men dont have to think about what work means to them so seriously, they just do it, its what they are supposed to do. Women think about work quite a lot and they have to prove themselves to be able to work outside, prove themselves to their family and everyone, that they are capable of working...' (Pakistani woman, aged 20, single)

12 12 Level of economic activity, women with partner and child <5

13 13 Modelling work using data from 1992-2005 suggests that there was a post-1997 increase in economic activity for white and Black Caribbean women after controlling for qualifications, regional unemployment etc. But this was not present for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women Increase economic activity explained by increased qualifications, more younger women UK-born

14 14 Economic activity, women with partner and youngest child <5, 1992-2005

15 15 How do we explain this? Role of qualifications Whether UK-born/educated Cultural constraints/ husband/ family- related preferences –Or whether husband UK-born? Labour market barriers/ discrimination Lack of jobs in local labour market Own choice

16 16 women wanted to work but it was not seen as necessary Overall – I think…its not really important – its not like I have to work. Its just that I want to. Its one of those things that Ive always wanted to do. I never wanted to work full-time in the first place, just part-time work. …I think it boosts my confidence. Pakistani, 28, NVQ2, married with two children

17 17 Role of qualifications Statistical analysis shows higher qualifications have powerful effect on level of economic activity; UK-born younger women increasingly getting degree-level qualifications, but: 2001-5degree-levelno quals White2618 Pakistani1243 Bangladeshi 854 LFS, women 19-60, excl. FT students

18 18 Barriers to gaining qualifications Several UK-born women were taking English classes – –had spent several years in Pakistani and wanted to increase confidence in English Education was often interrupted by marriage For some, college was very daunting: Ive never been to college so its really scary just to step into a college, its a really big thing for me. (Pakistani, 32, 4 children )

19 19 Barriers to gaining qualifications –left school at 14, no qualifications What they did was take me out of school and I went to Pakistan, and I got married at 16 I really wanted to study, go to college, have education, have a job, Ive never had that. Ive just been with kids all my life. Now I want to do something with my life. Ive always wanted to be a teacher since I was small, so Im hoping to go for it now. My husbands supporting me, he goes Go for it! -Now learning to drive; plans to study for GCSEs (Pakistani woman, 32, married, four children)

20 20 Being UK-born/brought up We may expect women who were educated in the UK to have no language barriers and more familiarity with labour market, more social networks, recognised qualifications …. but education may be interrupted economic activity remains low especially for women with no qualifications

21 21 Economic activity, women with partner, child<5, comparing UK born (came before 16) with overseas born ( came 16+), 1992-2005

22 22 Role of family Just that family is important to Asians. It is the most important thing, family, nothing takes priority over it, people will die for their family here and they will do everything for them…You have to think of them first and then yourself (Bangladeshi, single, aged 21)

23 23 Parental roles Lack of parental pressure meant women could wait to get the right job I went for 3 weeks without benefit and then I got the job luckily –Were you finding it hard to manage in this time? –No I wasnt. I was just given money by my mum and brothers and sisters and I got by…….I live with them, so I had no bills to pay, or rent to pay at all (Bangladeshi, single, 21 year old ) Some parents with poor health expected daughters to provide care They said Dont go too far, stay close and in a way, my mum – like, when I started the course and things are going good for me, Ive got a placement here and everything, she says You know, you can pack it in, if you like, you can just stay at home, you know, help me out. I was just thinking – I do help…I do help my mum out a lot but I want to get out the house, go explore the world, see stuff. 17-year old, Pakistani, single, doing a Modern apprenticeship

24 24 Role of marriage and husband Statistical analysis shows having a partner has a significant negative effect on economic activity (controlling for children, qualifications, UK-born) –Positive effect for white and Black Caribbean women Is this explained by husband's levels of unemployment? By marriage to men from overseas? Over 50% P & B women have partner who came to UK at 18+

25 25 Role of husband Many respondents said husbands were very supportive & encouraged them working he goes to work at 8.00 so I wake up with him, make his breakfast, pack his roti and then send him off to work then he picks me up from work at 5 and then we come home together I make his roti so hes happy and Im happy. 28-year old Pakistani, married, no children, GNVQ

26 26 Overseas born husbands UK-born women generally felt a partner from back-home would be more traditional, would want them to stay at home, care for family, not go out to work Concerned men would not adjust to UK life Wanted own children to marry in the UK

27 27 Views on overseas-born husbands Well, my younger sister, she…she actually doesnt work – her husbands like a bit strict – he doesnt really want her to work or…it depends on the husband – because theyre from back home, they think differently…. (interview 2) I think a lot of the girls that get married from back home, their husbands would like them to sit at home and have the family – the children …... They want a wife that wears a hijab and not step foot out the house (interview 7).

28 28 both respondents husbands were born overseas My husband, hes alright – hes quite good. I mean, hes my best friend as well – I can talk to him about anything and I can tell him I want to work and he wont mind if I study … (interview 2) Ive always had loads of encouragement from my family. My husband, too, hes been brilliant, he has never stopped me doing anything. (interview 7)

29 29 Role of husband: statistical analysis Effect on womens economic activity: No additional negative effect of having a husband who came to the UK at 18+, by comparison with UK-born husband Husband working – no significant effect Husband not-working – significant negative effect

30 30 Combining work and child-care LFS shows that children have very big negative effect on womens economic activity Interviews suggested many women were committed to being at home for their children and wanted to provide care themselves Preferred family child-care to formal care –but may be less reliable

31 31 Combining work and child-care Need for work that is near home: –What would you look for? Some sort of prospects, somewhere to go, good money, opportunity more than anything. Convenience also – work around my daughter. Everything has to be around her – timing, so can I be back in 5 minutes. The next job is in Haywood which is another 15 minutes away – Im not too happy about that. (23, Pakistani, daughter 3)

32 32 Finding the right job Lack of experience cited by many women Lack of knowledge about how the labour market works –availability of jobs and training schemes; – guidance on how to apply for jobs –confidence about procedures once in employment

33 33 Interview experiences I just felt so out of place, coz they were all English and they were all posh, and they were all like, their hair- they had their hair done first thing in the morning. Bangladeshi, 30, married, 2 children, who wore a hijab with western clothes. … as soon as I walk into an interview the first thing is that when they look at you, first of all its the colour of your skin, then its what youre dressed like (Pakistani woman, 28, married, no children)

34 34 Barriers in the work-place Work-place cultural assumptions often centred around the white majority –hard for women from a different cultural background to feel comfortable and to fit-in employers needed a better understanding of religious or cultural needs –eg replacing tea-breaks with prayer breaks –Family weddings, funerals posed some problems Wearing hijab or veil was seen as major barrier

35 35 Key ethnic differences Black Caribbean women Good motherhood involves doing paid work (Duncan and Edwards) High levels of economic activity combined with children Pakistani and Bangladeshi women Good motherhood involves being at home and providing child-care –Qualifications has big positive effect for all groups but least for Black Caribbean women and most for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women –Dependent children have big negative effect but least for Black Caribbean women and most for Pakistani and Bangladeshi women

36 36 Pakistani and Bangladeshi women Great diversity in terms of constraints –But clearly many women not having access to the education they might want Family-centred values very strong amongst all women; may often conflict with work-place expectations Work-place often seen as hostile /culturally alien Education – a key to greater freedom and choice

37 37 Publications Sameera Ahmed and Angela Dale (2008) Pakistani and Bangladeshi Womens Labour Market Participation, CCSR Working Paper 2008- 01.Pakistani and Bangladeshi Womens Labour Market Participation Dale, A., Lindley, J. and Dex, S. (2006) A life-course perspective on ethnic differences in womens economic activity in Britain, European Sociological Review, vol 22, no. 4: 459-476, downloadable from: Dale, A. J. Lindley, S. Dex, A. Rafferty (forthcoming) Ethnic differences in womens labour market activity, in Women and Employment: Changing Lives and New Challenges, edited by Jacqueline Scott, Shirley Dex, and Heather Joshi, Oxford University Press Dale, A, Shaheen, N, Kalra, V and Fieldhouse, E. (2002). The Labour Market Prospects for Pakistani and Bangladeshi Women. Work, Employment and Society, Vol 16(1), 5-25.

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