|Index of Volumes|
|VOLUME 138, NUMBER 4||1999/4|
SPECIAL ISSUE: WOMEN, GENDER AND WORK (Part II)
Persisting sexual stereotypes, inadequate information and real problems of adjustment constrain progress toward equality between men and women. The holistic approach adopted in this two-part special issue views the role of productive work in human life and the distribution of unpaid work as well as the myriad questions relating to employment. A multidisciplinary gender perspective contributes to better policy and overall outcomes for both men and women. To apply it requires examining their respective roles, the changing nature of the family, the differential impact of economic and financial policy, the use of legislation, and the empirical bases for assessing progress.
Assessing equal opportunities in the European Union
Janneke PLANTENGA and Johan HANSEN
To usefully evaluate the extent of equal opportunity demands innovative
methodology. The authors select indicators of the relative opportunities of men and women (the
"gender gap"), including differences in employment, wages, and the sharing of unpaid work;
and also indicators of women's absolute situation in the labour market. These indicators
are then estimated empirically for 15 Member States, with highly revealing results. To
close the circle, the main determinants of equal opportunity are posited including the rate
of economic growth, tax systems, working-time regimes, childcare facilities and
parental leave arrangements. Seeing country performance in that light produces compelling
lessons for policy.
Supranational action against sex discrimination: Equal pay and equal treatment in the European Union
European law has contributed substantially to the promotion of equality between men
and women throughout the Union. Its unique supranational character has led to revisions
of domestic law in all Member States. Starting with an insightful presentation of
the development of European institutions and legislation in historical perspective, Heide
goes on to show how this ongoing process is furthered by the ground-breaking judgements
of the European Court of Justice. The importance and scope of this case law are illustrated
by a wide selection of non-discrimination rulings on pay, pensions, part-time work,
pregnancy and maternity, night work and eligibility for particular occupations.
The family, flexible work and social cohesion at risk
Radical changes in work have significant repercussions on the family and the
community, the traditional social integrators and transmitters of values. Women's large-scale entry
into the labour market also plays an important part. The author sees an increasingly
knowledge-based and flexible labour market making greater demands on families just as they
are undergoing increased stress. They are called upon to provide continuing stability, to
focus on early childhood development, to help children acquire the needed knowledge, and
to bolster their members against unemployment and periods of retraining, while society
is expected to provide childcare facilities and flexible education.
Women, men and management styles
The author seeks to disentangle the terminological complexities behind opposed
concepts such as sex and gender, masculine and feminine, biological and socially
constructed attributes. In so doing, she shows that stereotypes are often less clear-cut than they
seem and that erstwhile weaknesses can come to be viewed as valuable skills, formerly
perceived strengths as inflexible and one-dimensional. As management culture starts to
appreciate and incorporate gender differences it is coming to see the value of a mixture of
so-called feminine and masculine characteristics in the panoply of management skills needed in
the highly competitive global market place.
Sex-specific labour market indicators: What they show
Sara ELDER and Lawrence Jeffrey JOHNSON
This article describes worldwide trends in gender issues that emerge from an ILO project (KILM) to develop key labour market indicators to monitor new employment trends. Indicators were selected on criteria of conceptual relevance, data availability, and comparability across countries and regions. Assembled from several existing compilations, the data suggest that, worldwide, women's experience of the labour market is substantially different from men's: women work in different sectors, for fewer hours of paid work, have lower rates of schooling and literacy, are less likely to be self-employed and more likely to be unemployed, underemployed or outside the labour force.