Helen Kowalewska

Helen Kowalewska
University of Bath | UB · Department of Social and Policy Sciences

PhD

About

8
Publications
2,604
Reads
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29
Citations
Introduction
I'm a Lecturer in the Department of Social and Policy Sciences at the University of Bath. I'm also Principal Investigator on a New Investigator Grant funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, which examines the relationship between welfare states and gender segregation in employment. https://helenkowalewska.uk
Additional affiliations
August 2019 - present
University of Oxford
Position
  • PostDoc Position
February 2019 - present
University of Southampton
Position
  • Lecturer
February 2019 - present
University of Southampton
Position
  • Lecturer
Education
September 2013 - September 2017
University of Southampton
Field of study
  • Social Policy
September 2012 - September 2013
University of Southampton
Field of study
  • Social Policy and Social Research
October 2009 - June 2012
University of Southampton
Field of study
  • Politics

Publications

Publications (8)
Article
Full-text available
Since the mid-1990s, welfare states have introduced various ‘activation’ policies designed to promote employment. Most typologies distinguish between a Nordic-style ‘train-first’ approach focused on developing jobseekers’ employability, and an Anglo-Saxon ‘work-first’ approach that emphasises quick job (re-)entry. These typologies tell us what acti...
Article
Full-text available
Lone mothers in the UK are a key target group of tax-benefit measures designed to ‘make work pay’. This article assesses how the Conservative–Liberal Democrat Coalition’s ‘make work pay’ agenda since 2010 has potentially affected single mothers. It calculates two lone mothers’ incomes and incentives for a range of working hours and wage rates under...
Article
Full-text available
In analysing heterosexual couples’ work–family arrangements over time and space, the comparative social policy literature has settled on the framework of the ‘male-breadwinner’ versus the ‘dual-earner’ family. Yet, in assuming men in couple-families are (full-time) employed, this framework overlooks another work–family arrangement, which is the ‘fe...
Article
Full-text available
This paper argues that analyses of the gendered character of welfare states should be broadened to include women’s share of board and executive roles, as well as the affirmative-action policies (e.g. gender boardroom quotas) that overcome the gender stereotypes (e.g. women are ‘nice’, men are ‘assertive’) and opaque selection procedures at the root...
Article
Full-text available
An influential body of work has identified a ‘welfare-state paradox’: work-family policies that bring women into the workforce also undermine women’s access to the top jobs. Missing from this literature is a consideration of how welfare-state interventions impact on women’s representation at the board-level specifically, rather than managerial and...
Preprint
Full-text available
In analysing heterosexual couples’ work-family arrangements over time and space, the comparative social policy literature has settled on the framework of the ‘male-breadwinner’ versus ‘dual-earner’ family. Yet, in assuming men in couple-families are (full-time) employed, this framework overlooks another work-family arrangement, which is the ‘female...
Thesis
Full-text available
Since the late-1990s, advanced economies have converged on an ‘active’ social policy agenda aimed at maximising employment. Consequently, women are no longer treated as caregivers. Rather, they are required and assumed to be in employment. Although gender has moved from margins to the mainstream of comparative welfare state research in recent years...

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Projects

Projects (5)
Project
Research suggests that the more 'women-friendly' a welfare state is, the harder it will be for women - especially if they are highly skilled - to break into male-dominated jobs and sectors, including the most lucrative managerial positions (Mandel, 2012). However, recent empirical evidence indicates that women's disadvantaged access to better jobs is not inevitable under generous welfare policies. This project aims to provide a clearer and fuller understanding of how welfare states impact on gender employment segregation by using innovative methods and approaches that have not been used to examine this welfare state 'paradox' before.
Archived project
Since the late-1990s, advanced economies have converged on an ‘active’ social policy agenda aimed at maximising employment. Consequently, women are no longer treated as caregivers. Rather, they are required and assumed to be in employment. Although gender has moved from margins to the mainstream of comparative welfare state research in recent years, the agenda of ‘gendering’ the analysis of welfare states under activation remains incomplete. This three-paper thesis contributes to completing this agenda. Papers 1 and 2 assess activation strategies towards lone mothers who, as sole breadwinners and caregivers within their households, are a ‘litmus test’ of gendered social rights. Focusing on the UK, Paper 1 shows that, against the commonplace characterisation of the UK as a pioneer of ‘making work pay’, changes to the UK’s tax-benefit system since 2010 have weakened lone mothers’ financial incentives to work beyond a few hours a week. Paper 2 subsequently builds on Paper 1 in dimensional and geographical scope by examining how active labour market and family policies across 22 welfare states help or hinder lone mothers’ employment. It shows that cross-national variations in support for maternal activation are not well captured by the commonplace dichotomy within the mainstream literature between a Nordic-style ‘train-first’ approach to activation and an Anglo-Saxon ‘work-first’ approach. Paper 3 then extends Papers 1 and 2 in conceptual terms. It argues that analysing women’s social risks under activation requires looking not just at active labour market and family policies. Also important are gender boardroom quotas and other regulatory policies that set numerical targets for women in top corporate board and executive positions. This is because a ‘critical mass’ (23-40 per cent) of women in top management can generate important ‘trickle-down’ benefits, which can help to alleviate some of the ‘new’ social risks (e.g. work/care conflicts, in-work poverty) faced by women at the bottom of the labour market under activation.