21.12.2007

Gender and working conditions in the European Union

The profound changes underway in the European Union, including the rising
proportion of women in employment in recent decades, have all impacted greatly
on Europe's labour markets. These effects have important implications for the
development of men's and women's working conditions in the different Member
States. This, in turn, creates a real need for increasing our understanding of
the changing face of Europe and the implications of these developments for
citizens working and living in the EU.

Against this background, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living
and Working Conditions has, since 1990, been collecting data on developments
pertaining to working conditions ­ a key dimension of quality of life in
Europe. The latest of these surveys, the fourth European Working Conditions
Survey (EWCS), provides a comprehensive overview of working conditions across
31 countries in Europe. Among the central themes of this survey are the
potential similarities and differences that exist in men's and women's working
conditions ­ a subject which forms the basis of a recently publshed report
"Gender and working conditions in the European Union" prepared by the European
Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.

The report examines changes in working conditions, focusing on the extent of
occupational concentration of, and segregation between, the sexes in today's
workplace and showing how this impacts on the quality of women's and men's
working lives. Key similarities and differences in women's and men's working
environments are examined, while specific aspects of job quality ­ including
working hours, job satisfaction, work­life compatibility and work-related
health outcomes ­ are explored to help gauge the experiences of women and men
in an everchanging workplace.

The findings reveal persistent gender inequalities in many, although not all,
aspects of working conditions. Such disparities include differences in working
hours, occupation, economic sector and work-related health risks, which not
only result in gender inequality but also perpetuate existing inequalities. For
instance, the persistent unequal gender division of care and household
responsibilities partly explains why women more frequently switch to part-time
employment or are less able to work the long hours typically expected for
promotion to senior or managerial positions.

Obtaining accurate and up-to-date information is essential for informing policy
of any kind, including that which aims to target gender inequality in the
workplace. In this context, we hope that the findings of this report will shed
some light on the key areas that need to be addressed to further improve gender
equality in the European labour markets, and hence help to create a more
equitable workplace for men and women throughout the European Union.

Further info


AplusA-online.de - Source: European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions