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Article
Publication date: 11 July 2017

Birgit Pfau-Effinger

During the transition from socialist to post-socialist regimes, many Central and Eastern Europe societies have developed a broad sector of informal work. This development…

Abstract

Purpose

During the transition from socialist to post-socialist regimes, many Central and Eastern Europe societies have developed a broad sector of informal work. This development has caused substantial economic and social problems. The paper aims to discuss these issues.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper aims to answer two questions regarding European countries with a relatively weak economy and welfare state: what are the differences in the social characteristics between workers in formal and informal employment? And how might they be explained? According to the main assumption, a key reason why people work in undeclared employment in such countries is that they are in particularly vulnerable positions in the labour market. This paper uses the example of Moldova. The empirical study is based on a unique survey data set from the National Statistical Office of Moldova covering formal and informal employment.

Findings

The findings show that, in informal employment, workers in rural areas, workers with a low level of education, young workers and older workers – in the final years of their careers and after the age of retirement – are over-represented. It seems that a significant reason why these workers are often engaged in informal employment is the lack of alternatives in the labour market, particularly in rural areas, compounded by limited social benefits from unemployment benefits and pensions.

Originality/value

Research about social differences between workers in formal and informal employment in the countries of the European periphery is rare. This paper makes a new contribution to the theoretical debate and research regarding work in informal employment.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 7/8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Book part
Publication date: 29 October 2018

Ewa Giermanowska and Mariola Racław

In this chapter we want to demonstrate, using the example of Poland, that the socio-cultural context is important in achieving the social policy objectives of women’s…

Abstract

In this chapter we want to demonstrate, using the example of Poland, that the socio-cultural context is important in achieving the social policy objectives of women’s professional activation and investing in children. The chapter is based on secondary analysis of data from sociological research and available public statistics (national and international) and legal documents. The thesis of the chapter refers to the theoretical concept indicated by Birgit Pfau-Effinger.

We take the view of the German sociologist Birgit Pfau-Effinger on the twofold, partially contradictory, mutual relations, and tensions between culture, institutions, social structures, and individuals who formulate the social context of female employment and child care in society. The said researcher emphasizes that the effects of similar solutions implemented in social policies in different countries vary considerably depending on the cultural context. The authors chose the subject matter of the chapter because of the changes introduced in Poland in recent years in social policy relating to the care of small children. They deal with new legal solutions that increase men’s participation in care by introducing new forms of leave for fathers.

The value of the chapter lies in pointing out the weakness of the technocratic implementation of public policies in the absence of “sociological imagination and sensitivity.” This is typical for countries in transition and post-transition periods, which includes Poland. Poor rooting of cultural knowledge and analysis in the area of programming and implementation of public policies generate a variety of social tensions.

Details

The Work-Family Interface: Spillover, Complications, and Challenges
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78769-112-4

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2012

Birgit Pfau‐Effinger

The purpose of this paper is to explore how cross‐national differences in the employment rates of women with children under age three can be explained. It argues that not…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore how cross‐national differences in the employment rates of women with children under age three can be explained. It argues that not only differences in welfare‐state family policies, but also differences in the gender culture contribute to the explanation of such differences.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper outlines the theoretical approach of the “gender arrangement” which conceptualizes the ways in which family policies and culture interact, together with social and economic factors, in their impact on gendered social practices. It then analyses the differences in the employment rates of women with children under age three in six European countries, and how these are influenced by family policies, the gender culture and the labour‐market situation in the specific country, using data from international surveys as well as country case studies from an international EU‐Project.

Findings

The findings show that differences in family policies alone do not explain cross‐national differences in the employment rates of mothers with children below age three. They support the argument that an explanation requires consideration of a more complex framework of factors, to which culture certainly contributes substantially.

Originality/value

The role that culture may have in the explanation of the employment of mothers with children in contrast to the role of family policies is still a contested issue. Empirical studies which support the assumption that culture matters in this explanation are still rare. This relates particularly also to the employment of women with children below age three. In this group, cross‐national differences in these women's employment rates are particularly high. The paper introduces theoretical and methodological elaborations in this regard.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 32 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Abstract

Details

Women in Management Review, vol. 20 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0964-9425

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2012

Marina Hennig, Dörthe Gatermann and Anna Erika Hägglund

The purpose of this editorial is to examine sociological research on the possibilities and pitfalls of social policies for mothers' employment participation, and identify…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this editorial is to examine sociological research on the possibilities and pitfalls of social policies for mothers' employment participation, and identify research gaps in the existing literature. The paper aims to focus mainly on the implications of parental leave schemes on mothers' employment participation.

Design/methodology/approach

The editorial discusses the inconsistencies in the current sociological debate on the impact of social policies on mothers' employment.

Findings

The relationship between parental leave policies and women's participation in the work force is complex. The literature shows a disagreement about whether such policies mitigate family‐related career disadvantages, or in fact, contribute to gender inequality in the labour market. In order to gain a deeper understanding of the interplay between social policies and mothers' labour market participation, and national and cross‐national variation in the consequences of childbirth on women's labour market participation the editorial points at the several aspects that need to be investigated in greater depth by further research. The editorial emphasizes the necessity of conducting in‐depth international comparisons in order to account for between‐country variations as well as within‐country variations. Furthermore, the symbolic nature of family policy must not be neglected.

Originality/value

The editorial identifies research gaps to be addressed by further research.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 32 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 1 May 2002

Kaye Broadbent

Part‐time work in Japan, as in other countries, is increasing as a form of paid work. There are, however, significant differences developing out of Japan’s gender…

Abstract

Part‐time work in Japan, as in other countries, is increasing as a form of paid work. There are, however, significant differences developing out of Japan’s gender contract. Employers have created a gendered employment strategy which has been supported by governments, through social welfare policies and legislation, and the mainstream enterprise union movement which has supported categorisations of part‐time workers as “auxilliary” despite their importance at the workplace. An analysis of one national supermarket chain indicates that part‐time work as it is constructed in Japan does not challenge the gendered division of labour but seeks to lock women into the secondary labour market.

Details

Equal Opportunities International, vol. 21 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0261-0159

Keywords

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Article
Publication date: 8 September 2015

Borbála Kovács

The purpose of this paper is to formulate a conceptually and empirically grounded new understanding of childcare arrangements for cross-national and longitudinal…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to formulate a conceptually and empirically grounded new understanding of childcare arrangements for cross-national and longitudinal micro-level empirical research by drawing on theoretical discussions about the social, spatial and temporal dimensions of embodied childcare and empirical data in the form of parental narratives from a Romanian qualitative study.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper builds on a critique of an extensive body of empirical literature on the micro-level organisation of childcare and the thematic analysis of in-depth interviews with Romanian parents. The paper combines a critical literature review with findings from a qualitative study on childcare.

Findings

The paper formulates a new understanding of household-level childcare arrangements that is context-insensitive, yet reflects the social, spatial and temporal concerns that the organisation of embodied childcare often raises. The paper expands on six real-life care arrangements in Romanian households represented as different combinations of care encounters.

Research limitations/implications

As the paper draws on parental narratives from a single country, Romania, the mapping of childcare arrangements in other jurisdictions and/or at different times would strengthen the case for the proposed understanding of care arrangements as a valuable tool to represent, compareand contrast household-level care routines.

Originality/value

The idea that parents (especially mothers) make work-care decisions in the light of what is best for their child has been widely documented. However, taxonomies of care arrangements have failed to reflect this. The proposed conceptualisation of childcare arrangements addresses this issue by articulating a conceptually coherent approach to developing empirically grounded childcare typologies that “travel well” cross-nationally and over time.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 35 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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