One of the characteristics of the Italian peninsula is a sharp North-South gradient on many economic and labour market variables. This gradient is particularly marked in relation to female employment, making Italy a particularly useful ‘laboratory’ for studying changes in gender roles. Esping-Andersen's description of the decline of the ‘male breadwinner’ model and the search for a ‘new equilibrium’ in gender roles is suggestive, but the assumption that current processes will inevitably converge towards a relatively homogeneous social configuration (exemplified by the Scandinavian countries) is rather unconvincing. We will show in this article that the Italian case comprises macro-regions with very different female employment rates and highly differentiated welfare systems. Furthermore, one of the effects of the economic crisis has been to obstruct the entry of women into paid work, particularly in the South where employment rates are already at a very low level. When discussing trends and changes in women's roles, it is important to remember that the resulting transformations are plural, contingent and discontinuous and strongly shaped by prevailing socio-economic conditions. In the context of a prolonged and severe crisis, the differences between Northern and Southern Italy have been further accentuated, impeding the development of coherent policy responses and obstructing change in gender roles.

Female employment and the economic crisis

PRATSCHKE, Jonathan
2013

Abstract

One of the characteristics of the Italian peninsula is a sharp North-South gradient on many economic and labour market variables. This gradient is particularly marked in relation to female employment, making Italy a particularly useful ‘laboratory’ for studying changes in gender roles. Esping-Andersen's description of the decline of the ‘male breadwinner’ model and the search for a ‘new equilibrium’ in gender roles is suggestive, but the assumption that current processes will inevitably converge towards a relatively homogeneous social configuration (exemplified by the Scandinavian countries) is rather unconvincing. We will show in this article that the Italian case comprises macro-regions with very different female employment rates and highly differentiated welfare systems. Furthermore, one of the effects of the economic crisis has been to obstruct the entry of women into paid work, particularly in the South where employment rates are already at a very low level. When discussing trends and changes in women's roles, it is important to remember that the resulting transformations are plural, contingent and discontinuous and strongly shaped by prevailing socio-economic conditions. In the context of a prolonged and severe crisis, the differences between Northern and Southern Italy have been further accentuated, impeding the development of coherent policy responses and obstructing change in gender roles.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11386/4355854
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