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Publication Detail
Paid work and parenthood: gender, class and cohort differences in the UK
  • Publication Type:
  • Authors:
    Chanfreau J
  • Date awarded:
  • Supervisors:
    Sigle W
  • Awarding institution:
    London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Language:
Are gender inequalities in the UK labour market narrowing as younger cohorts replace older ones? Over the past several decades, the labour market participation of women, and especially mothers, has increased extensively and the gap in the employment rates of women and men has shrunk drastically. At the same time, extensive educational expansion has been greater among women than men, thus closing the qualifications gap. The gender wage gap has reduced overall and is lowest among younger age groups. These substantial changes have been referred to collectively as a gender revolution. Yet there is also extensive evidence of enduring gendered inequalities in time spent in unpaid work and childcare. Social expectations that childrearing is primarily women’s responsibility, also reflected and reinforced in UK leave and benefit policies, mean that mothers are more likely to adjust their employment to accommodate childrearing. The focus of this thesis on parenthood and paid work is motivated by a concern about the cumulative life course costs of such adjustments in the UK policy context. The project describes labour market and educational changes since the Second World War and considers whether and how those changes have promoted greater gender equality at the classed intersection of paid work and childrearing. The research combines original empirical analyses of large-scale UK surveys, with a feminist analysis of policy as gendering practices in order to contextualise the empirical findings with a more structural perspective of gender that is lacking in the survey data. Documenting the persistence of the gendered and classed disadvantage for people born at different points in the 20th century, particularly when they transition to parenthood, the findings provide insight into how gendered
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