EPRSLibrary By / March 6, 2013

Gender aspects of the crisis

The current economic downturn and financial and budgetary crisis has an impact on the situation of both women and men…

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© Kamaga / Fotolia

The current economic downturn and financial and budgetary crisis has an impact on the situation of both women and men in the labour market, on their living conditions, on income, etc. They also affect gender equality policies, as economic crises are deeply gendered. Academics have questioned whether women are more vulnerable to the effects of the crises than men. Past experience cannot provide sufficient insight into the gender impact of this crisis as the position of women has changed considerably since the last major recession. This crisis offers opportunities for radical change, including a potential to advance equality for women and men.


European women and the crisis / Willemijn de Jong, EP Library Briefing, February 2013
The briefing gives a good overview of the situation of women in the crises, of EU’s and Member States’ initiatives in the field. It refers to several studies listed below.

An Invisible Crisis? Women’s poverty and social exclusion in the European Union at a time of recession – A GenderWorks paper / Oxfam International / European Women’s Lobby, March 2010
The report documents evidence of: precarious working conditions; increasing discrimination in the labour market with a subsequent shift to informal work; rising levels of poverty; reduced access to services; and rising levels of domestic violence, accompanied by cuts in vital support services. The evidence clearly indicates that the recession is already having a significant negative effect on the lives of women, not only in relation to the labour market, but also, crucially, outside it. However, the impact of the recession on women remains largely invisible and further in-depth analysis is urgently required.

Gender aspects of the economic downturn and financial crisis: A study / EP Policy Department C, PE 453.208, 2011
Past economic crises affected male-dominated sectors more and so reduced gender
imbalances. Aggregate data to the end of 2010 shows similar findings for 2007-2010. However, the current crisis is deeper and longer, while budget issues which dominate after 2010 could alter the magnitude and even the direction of gender effects. Should complacency take hold, or should policy be blind to gender implications, there could be a real risk of progress achieved since 2010 being rolled back, as gender stereotypes reassert themselves.

The impact of the economic crisis on the situation of women and men and on gender equality policies: Synthesis Report / Francesca Bettio, Marcella Corsi, Carlo D’Ippoliti, Antigone Lyberaki, Manuela Samek Lodovici and Alina Verashchagina; European Commission, December 2012
This report assesses the impact of this crisis on the situation of women and men in Europe and on gender equality policies.


Economic crises and women’s work: Exploring progressive strategies in a rapidly changing global environment  / Jayati Ghosh; UN Women, 2013
This paper examines issues of women’s employment and work in the context of the ongoing global financial and economic crisis. It considers how informal work affects the self-employed, those employed by micro-enterprises, unpaid workers in family businesses and those who provide unpaid care activities.

Women living alone an update: A study / EP Policy Department C, PE 462.505, 2012
The study analyses the policy changes implied by the crisis: changes in pension systems, labour market and active ageing policies and assistance policies. In this document, the qualitative analysis of the main policy reforms introduced in recent years focuses on six countries selected as representative of European welfare systems: Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, United Kingdom, Romania.

A new estimate of discouraged and additional worker effects on labour participation by sex and age in OECD countries / Olivier Filatriau, Frédéric Reynès; OFCE, 2012
This article proposes a new approach to estimate the effect of the unemployment rate on the labour participation ratio by sex and age.

Globalization and Varieties of Modernity / Sylvia Walby; In: EurAmerica; September 2012, Vol. 42 Issue 3, p391-417, 28p.
The paper investigates the extent to which variations in the form of gender and class inequalities in employment and in welfare provision map onto each other, using data from OECD countries. Significant points of divergence are found, leading to the conclusion that conceptualisation and analysis of varieties of modernity should include a gender dimension and not presume that this is reducible to class.

The economic crisis – challenge or opportunity for gender equality in social policy outcomes? A comparison of Denmark, Germany and the UK / Janine Leschke; Maria Jepsen; Working Paper 2011.04, European Trade Union Institute, 2011
This paper assesses the impact of the current financial and economic crisis on gender equality in terms of labour market and welfare outcomes. It undertakes an in-depth examination of three European countries with differing welfare state configurations and different prevailing gender regimes: Denmark (universal bread-winner model), Germany and the United Kingdom (dual earner/female part-time carer).

The ING International Survey on Pensions and Long Term Savings – 2012
This ING International Survey on Pensions and Long Term Savings polled more than 12,000 people in 12 countries in Europe on a wide range of topics related to savings and retirement. It found Europe’s long term savings are in a relatively healthy state but with a warning on the horizon. The picture for pensions is less encouraging, with financial comfort of retirees varying greatly and women and young people appearing to be particularly vulnerable.

The Gender Impact of the Cuts: A TUC cuts briefing / Trade Union Congress (UK), November 2010
The UK government’s deficit reduction strategy is considered to be unfair and disproportionately disadvantaged for women and families, particularly those on low incomes. This briefing explores the ways in which women in both the public and private sectors will be hit by the public sector cuts, as workers, as benefits claimants and as service users.

Public Sector Adjustment in Europe /  Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead (ed.); ILO, 2012
The study shows that women in France, Ireland, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom have the most to lose due to their heavy dependence (45 to 50 per cent) on the public sector for employment, especially in higher level jobs.
Across Europe, women are better represented in the public sector than in the private sector, due to the provision of higher salaries, as well as to the existence of a higher proportion of skilled jobs which require a better educated workforce.

The Impact of the Economic Crisis on Family Policies in the European Union / Anne H. Gauthier; The European Commission, DG Employment, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities; Social Protection and Integration; Social and Demographic Analysis. April 2010
This report, includes: child/family cash benefits (allowances) and tax relief for families with children; maternity and parental leave policies (including pregnancy benefits, maternity; paternity leave policies, and parental and childcare leave policies); childcare policies (including the provision of childcare and related subsidies for daycare, kindergarten, pre- and after-school care, and early childhood education); housing benefits for families with children; support for families with caring responsibilities towards the elderly or other dependants; other policies or services for families with children

The Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on Women’s Well-Being and Empowerment / Maria S. Floro; Emcet Oktay Taş; Annika Törnqvist; SIDA, 2010
This paper summarises recent evidence from the global economic crisis and lessons learned from previous crises that show the cumulative effects on women’s well-being and empowerment.

Data for the evaluation of the European semester process from a gender equality perspective: A study / Paola Villa, Elvira Gonzalez, Silvia Sansonetti; EP Policy Department C, PE 462.432, 2012
The study sets out 83 indicators for the inclusion of the gender perspective in the evaluation of the Europe 2020 Strategy during the European Semester process. The indicators encompass the five EU 2020 headline targets and will introduce a gender perspective into the indicators dashboard of the European Semester. The proposal for a WIKI EU Semester & Gender Equality Web Platform is put forward as an option enhancing contributions and the follow-up of the European Semester process from a gender equality perspective by civil society organisations.

The multi-annual financial framework 2014-2020 from a gender equality perspective / Fondazione Giacomo BRODOLINI; EP Policy Department C, PE 462.426
A gender budgeting methodology has been developed on purpose to analyse in a gender perspective the MFF proposal for 2014-2020. The analysis has been conducted the following five gender relevant policy issues: Economic Independence, Education and Training, Health/Wellbeing/ Environment, Fundamental Rights, External Relations.

Stakeholder views

OECD economic surveys and country surveillance  

FinlandGender Mainstreaming in Development Programmes and Projects / Marja-Leena Haataja, Eija Leinonen and Sinikka Mustakallio

SwedenWelfare Systems and Policies for Women’s Entrepreneurship in Sweden and the United States / Helene Ahl; Teresa Nelson; July 2013

UKThe Impact of Austerity on Women / Fawcett Society Policy Briefing, March 2012, 42 p.
Fawcett’s analysis published ahead of the Coalition Government’s third budget.
The UK Coalition Government’s first budget in June 2010 kicked off almost two years of dramatic and radical changes to public sector jobs, wages, pensions, benefits, taxes and services. Ahead of the Coalition’s third budget, this report looks at the effect of these different measures one by one and as a whole. Many of the specific changes  looked at are making life more difficult for women across the UK. But it is when the policies of austerity are stitched together that the true impact on women emerges.

GreeceThe Effects of the Global Economic Crisis and Structural Adjustment on Women and Gender Relations in Greece: First Wave – Lois Woestman, Kathambi Kinoti, AWID, 15/04/2011
Summaries of the analysis presented in the brief called “The Global Economic Crisis and Gender Relations: The Greek case, which is presented in this document.


Unemployment rate, annual average, by sex and age groups (%) / Eurostat
Last update: 01-02-2013

Gender pay gap statistics / Eurostat, January 2013

Employment statistics / Eurostat, August 2012

Entrepreneurship at a Glance: women and entrepreneurship / OECD (2012)

United Kingdom – Statistical bulletin: Public Sector Employment, Q3 2012

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