Women and Austerity

some reflections on the impact of austerity on the prospects for gender equality

Professor Jill Rubrey (University of Manchester, UK)

ISSP Seminar Room (CA110), Cairnes Building, NUI Galway 13:00 :: 1st May 2013

This paper will draw on research for a book in press entitled Women and Austerity: the economic crisis and the future for gender equality (M. Karamessini and J. Rubery ed. Routledge, June 2013). The book uses an updated framework for understanding women’s vulnerability to recession and austerity drawing on that developed within Jill Rubery’s earlier edited volume Women and Recession, (1988 republished in 2010) to identify the impact of the economic crisis and the subsequent sovereign debt crisis on women, particularly in relation to gender equality in employment and welfare systems in OECD countries. The framework is updated in three important respects: first of all in relation to the nature of the recession and the context in which austerity policies are being enacted; secondly in relation to the impact that twenty years of further integration of women into wage employment may have had on not only the gender contract but also on responses to recession and changes in labour demand; thirdly in relation to the potential that the current austerity programmes may prove to be a turning point, particularly in European social models, leading to a role back in the tendency for the state to provide increasing support for working families, albeit from different starting points.

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