Cristina Solera

in Women in and out of paid work

Published by Policy Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9781861349309
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304319 | DOI:

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This chapter summarizes the main findings and discusses their policy implications. It re-opens the issue of individualization and ‘choice’ in women's employment; it reflects on the weight of ‘preferences’ and ‘constraints’, and on their problematic distinction, given that preferences are endogenous to cultural and institutional models. It discusses how changes across generations and countries have been multifarious and irregular, so that the family/employment trajectories of young women are in some respects more similar to those of their ‘grandmothers’, and in other respects to those of their ‘mothers’. It outlines the extent to which and how the experiences of British and Italian women have grown more convergent. Finally, it resumes the issue of the micro-macro foundations of individual lifecourses and draws some policy conclusions. It argues for the importance of social and labour market policies that combine decommodification with defamilialization, and which support a ‘dual-earner/dual-carer society’, giving more (income-protected) time for care and encouraging male time to care as well. The comparison between Italy and Britain suggests that only policies of this kind can sustain women's attachment to paid work without threatening levels of fertility, gender and class equality, and overall economic and societal sustainability.

Keywords: individualization; choice; women; employment; British women; Italian women; lifecourse; decommodification; defamilialization; social policy; labour market policy

Chapter.  7424 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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