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... Women are still considered primarily responsible for unpaid domestic work (EIGE, 2015a). As a consequence, their participation in the labour market declines with the arrival of dependent children, while fathers' participation remains generally stable or even increases (Misra et al., 2010;Ruggeri and Bird, 2014). In most Member States, women without children are much more likely to be found in employment than those with children under the age of 12 (GenderCop, 2014). ...
... At the same time, one-parent families headed by women are also twice as likely to be deprived (20 %, versus 9 % for one-parent families headed by men). Younger mothers and women with young children are the least-employed parent groups, and this is further exacerbated for single mothers (Ruggeri and Bird, 2014). ...
... One of the reasons might be that they face difficulties finding full-time jobs that are flexible enough to accommodate their parenting responsibilities. As a result, they enter more flexible yet less well paid and less secure forms of work, such as part-time jobs and jobs with temporary contracts (Ruggeri and Bird, 2014). Lone mothers are further disadvantaged by the fact that the wages of women are lower on average than those of men. ...
Book
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Poverty in Europe today is more than just a lack of resources for survival. It also involves a loss of opportunities for meaningful participation in all areas of life, which can cause detachment and exclusion of such people from society. Due to existing gender inequalities in public and private life, women are continually at a higher risk of poverty across the EU. This report is part of EIGE’s mandate to monitor EU progress towards gender equality, specifically in relation to the objectives of the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA).
... Section 5 summarises the central conclusions and offers policy recommendations. This paper is merely descriptive and mainly provides the background for more detailed analysis that will be available in other papers on single parents and employment (Ruggeri & Bird 2014), household earning structures (Tsang et al. 2014), flexible working hours (Mills & Präg 2014), and childcare (Mills et al. 2014). ...
... These findings could benefit from complementary analysis looking at the household composition (for example, couples versus single parents). Such issues are explored in two other papers of this series: "Single parents at work" (Ruggeri & Bird 2014) and "Emerging trends in earning structures of couples in Europe" (Tsang et al. 2014). ...
... Cross-national studies show that lone mothers work less than mothers in couples, and that lone mothers' full-time engagement in the labor market is higher in countries in which work policies are more flexible (Plantenga et al. 2010;Ruggeri and Bird 2014). In other words, even if in many countries the activity rate of lone mothers has been increasing during the last decades (Cohen 2002), not having a partner exposes women to higher unemployment risk and persistent poverty (Eamon and Wu 2011). ...
... Similarly, older lone mothers are found to be less likely to suffer from economic hardship (Bauman 2002) 2 . Results from cross-sectional data of European countries as a whole show that young lone mothers work less than young mothers in couples, and that this gap is smaller across groups of older women (Ruggeri and Bird 2014). ...
Chapter
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In Belgium, lone parent families represent almost one fourth of the households with children, aside from the existence of regional differences in the phenomenon’s prevalence. Zooming in on Flanders, the poverty risk for this type of family is significantly higher compared to couple-with-children households and the general population; thus, labour market participation represents a crucial resource for individuals heading such households to cope with the economic needs of the family and to avoid long-lasting poverty or to rely extensively on social assistance. We use data from the Crossroads Bank of Social Security (CBSS Datawarehouse) to study Flemish lone mothers’ patterns of labour market participation and test the association between employment trajectories after lone parenthood and both individual and household characteristics. Flanders represents an interesting case because of (i) the relatively high diffusion of lone motherhood, (ii) the presence of welfare measures supporting a number of different types of recipients (even to different extents and not necessarily so generous to keep them out of poverty), and (iii) the availability of longitudinal data to observe lone mothers’ employment trajectories over time. We find that differences exist among lone mothers, who thus experience different risk of social exclusion driven by family and labour market arrangements set up to resolve the potentially contradictory trade-off between the needs for care and for income. The age at which mothers have children is crucial in understanding their future exclusion from the labour market: selection into early lone motherhood is associated with lower employment opportunities. Furthermore, it is the number of children below 17 in the household rather than the presence of very small children that defines a lower probability of having a strong labour market attachment through full-time jobs, and that increases the likelihood of being unemployed/inactive and receiving welfare benefits.
... The rates of employment of sole mothers in the United States and Europe are even higher. In 2014, 70% of sole mothers in the United States (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015) and 84% of sole mothers in Europe were employed (Ruggeri & Bird, 2014). ...
Article
Sole mothers potentially experience greater difficulties in meeting the challenges of combining employment and family than do partnered mothers, although there is remarkably little research on the work–family interface of sole mothers. A systematic review of quantitative literature on employed mothers is presented in this article to provide a case for further research on sole employed mothers, in particular for more comparative studies with partnered mothers. Conservation-of-resources theory is proposed as a theoretical framework for exploring these differences, research propositions are offered, and the implications of future research are discussed.
... This is because although lone parents' employment rates have increased from an OECD average of around two-thirds in the mid-1980s to three-quarters as of the late-2000s (OECD, 2011), lone parents are overrepresented among the working poor. For instance, across EU countries, around half of lone mothers working part-time and one-third working full-time are in elementary occupations or service or sales jobs (Ruggeri and Bird, 2014). So, while poverty risks for working lone mothers are lower than for their jobless counterparts (OECD, 2011), lone mothers are nevertheless disproportionately exposed to the new social risk of in-work poverty (e.g. ...
Thesis
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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.
... Een analyse op basis van de Labour Force Survey voor diverse landen leert dat vooral het hebben van erg jonge kinderen (0 tot 7 jaar) tot een lagere arbeidsmarktparticipatie onder alleenstaande moeders leidt (Ruggeri & Bird, 2014). Ook in andere leefvormen is dit zo: jonge moeders en moeders met jonge kinderen zijn het minst beroepsactief. ...
... The UK shows a double outlier position, as the country has not only lower rates compared to other countries but also shows an employment gap within the country compared to employment rates of married women (Gregg and Harkness 2003). A caveat on these rates, however, is that even though single mothers in many countries have higher employment rates, they do more part-time work than mothers in partnership or childless single women (Ruggeri and Bird 2014). ...
Chapter
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The purpose of this book is to approach lone parenthood from a life course perspective. Its chapters address the interdependence of multiple life domains across individuals and between individuals and institutions, as well as the relevance of individual agency and historical context. This introduction describes the phenomenon of lone parenthood across Europe through an account of the changes in prevalence and duration of lone parenthood across cohorts and contexts. Secondly, without any pretention to be an exhaustive review of the literature, it presents an overview of the main topic debated in the literature on the causes and consequences of lone parenthood. Third, it portrays the position of lone parenthood within various forms of social and family policies. It ends with an overview of the chapters included in the volume, highlighting their specific contribution.
Article
In recent decades, many Western European countries introduced parental leave policies to support the work–family combination in families with young children. However, these parental leave schemes often exhibit employment‐based eligibility criteria, so the question arises to which extent social inequalities emerge in the access to parental leave, and as a result thereof also in the uptake of parental leave. Although research on parental leave increasingly addresses the issue of inclusiveness, only a limited number of studies has yet examined individual‐level differentials in parents’, and especially mothers’, eligibility. Using detailed register data, we develop an individual‐level indicator of eligibility in Belgium and deploy it to document differentiation in mothers’ eligibility by age at first birth, partnership status, migration background and education. In addition, we examine to what extent differential eligibility can explain inequalities in parental leave uptake. Our results show that a considerable share of mothers—specifically very young, single, low educated mothers and mothers with a migration background—do not meet the eligibility criteria and thus are structurally excluded from parental leave in Belgium. Furthermore, differential eligibility can account for a large part of the age and educational gradients in parental leave use, as well as differences by migration background. Eligibility cannot (fully) account for lower parental leave use by single mothers and mothers with a Moroccan or Turkish migration background. Our findings suggest that a reconsideration of eligibility criteria may be instrumental in increasing the inclusiveness of parental leave policies.
Book
Książka analizuje europejską biedę z perspektywy płci, stanowiącej jedno z kluczowych - obok geograficznego i pokoleniowego - podejścia badawczego wobec ubóstwa. W porównaniu z mężczyznami kobiety stanowią większość populacji ubogich we współczesnym świecie. Także w bogatych krajach demokracji Zachodniej ubóstwo częściej dotyka kobiet, gdyż to kobiety doświadczają strukturalnych uwarunkowań ubóstwa, wynikających z przemian rodziny, rynku pracy, niewydolności krajowych systemów polityki społecznej w procesie ochrony ludności przed ryzykami socjalnymi. Celem książki jest analiza determinat kreujących ryzyko biedy kobiet w państwach Unii Europejskiej, pokazanie skali i głębokości ubóstwa kobiet oraz ich konsekwencji dla jakości życia kobiet. Z jednej strony jest to klasyczna analiza socjalnego problemu biedy w Europie koncentrująca się na feminizacji biedy, z drugiej strony bieda kobiet pokazana jest przez pryzmat nierównowagi w rozwoju gospodarczym i społecznym Unii Europejskiej.
Chapter
The ways family members combine paid and unpaid work—work–family patterns—have evolved throughout history, in parallel with changes in gender relations and gender equality.
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Gender and Health is the first book to examine how men’s and women’s lives and their physiology contribute to differences in their health. In a thoughtful synthesis of diverse literatures, the authors demonstrate that modern societies’ health problems ultimately involve a combination of policies, personal behavior, and choice. The book is designed for researchers, policymakers, and others who seek to understand how the choices of individuals, families, communities, and governments contribute to health. It can inform men and women at each of these levels how to better integrate health implications into their everyday decisions and actions.
Article
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Although there is considerable research evidence to show that children in lone parent families are at increased risk of poverty, there have been few comparative analyses of lone parents in Europe. Using the EU Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC) 2009, this paper compares the prevalence and characteristics of lone parent families, analyses the poverty and deprivation risks of children, and evaluates the potential impact of social transfer income packages on child poverty reduction. We use the unique personal identifiers of mothers, fathers and partners to define lone parent families with greater precision. Using a multi-level framework, we find lower child poverty rates in countries with more generous social transfers, even after controlling for the country standard of living. A reverse pattern is observed for material deprivation: the negative effect of social transfer income washes out when the GDP per capita is controlled for, which itself has a negative and significant effect on material deprivation.
Article
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Purpose – This chapter examines how gender, parenthood, and partner's employment are related to individual's employment patterns, analyzing paid work at individual and household levels. Methodology/approach – Analyses use individual-level data from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) wave 5 for 19 countries, for adults aged 25–45. We use logistic regression and a two-stage Heckman sample selection correction procedure to estimate the effects of gender and parenthood on the probabilities of employment and full-time employment. Findings – The variation between mothers and childless women is larger than that between childless men and childless women; differences in women's employment patterns are driven by gendered parenthood, controlling for women's human capital, partnered status and household income. Fathers and mothers' employment hours in the same household vary cross-nationally. Mothers' employment behaviors can identify important differences in the strategies countries have pursued to balance work and family life. Research implications – Important differences between childless women and mothers exist; employment analyses need to recognize the variation in employment hours among women, and how women's hours are related to partners' hours. Further research should consider factors that shape employment cross-nationally, as well as how these relate to differences in wages and occupational gender segregation. Practical implications – Employment choices of women and mothers must be understood in terms of employment hours, not simply employment, and within the context of partners' employment. Originality/value of paper – Our chapter clarifies the wide dispersion of employment hours across countries – and how men's and women's employment hours are linked and related to parenthood.
Article
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Work—family policy strategies reflect gendered assumptions about the roles of men and women within families and therefore may lead to significantly different outcomes, particularly for families headed by single mothers. The authors argue that welfare states have adopted strategies based on different assumptions about women's and men's roles in society, which then affect women's chances of living in poverty cross-nationally. The authors examine how various strategies are associated with poverty rates across groups of women and also examine more directly the effects of specific work—family policies on poverty rates. They find that while family benefits and child care for young children unequivocally lower poverty rates, particularly for families headed by a single mother, long parental leaves have more ambivalent effects. The findings suggest that it is critical to examine the gendered assumptions underlying work—family policies rather than viewing all work—family policies as the same.
Article
Objective. This research analyzes the effect of public child care and parental leave policy on the employment patterns of mothers with young children. Methods. The research design uses measurable variation in both policy and maternal employment patterns across fourteen industrialized countries. The independent variable is national policy performance, as captured in two composite indexes of policy indicators. The dependent variable is the magnitude of each country's "child penalty": the regression-adjusted estimate of the decrease in mothers' employment probability given the presence of young children at home. Each country's child penalty is estimated using microdata from the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS). Results. The results demonstrate a strong association between policy configurations and the employment patterns of mothers. Child penalties are greatest in those countries with the least-developed public policies that are aimed at supporting the employment of mothers with young children. Conclusions. These findings suggest that government policies have influenced the employment decisions of married women with children, with particularly important consequences for the continuity of labor force attachments. The results have implications for further research and for current public policy debates.
Article
American families changed dramatically during the last third of the twentieth century. From 1900 until the late 1960s, roughly three-quarters of all American sixteen-yearolds had lived with both of their biological parents. By 2000 only about half of all sixteenyear- olds were living with both biological parents. During the first half of the twentieth century, moreover, most parents who were not living with their children had no choice about the matter: They were dead. By the end of the twentieth century, most of the parents who were not living with their children were alive but living elsewhere (see figure 1.1). The focus of this chapter, however, is not simply the fact that family structures changed, but the fact that they changed very differently depending on parents' education and race. All groups are postponing marriage, but not all are postponing parenthood. As a result, the rise in single-parent families is concentrated among blacks and among the less educated. It hardly occurred at all among women with college degrees. Children's families have changed in broadly similar ways throughout the developed world, but no other nation has changed as much as the United States. The best evidence on this comes from the Fertility and Family Surveys (FFS), which provide data on the stability of both marriages and cohabiting unions in Europe during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Gunnar Andersson (2002) used these data to estimate the fraction of fifteen-year-olds who would live with both of their biological parents if parents continued to split up at the same rate as that found at the time of the FFS.1 Figure 1.2 shows his projections for the United States and six countries in western Europe. If nothing changed, roughly seven-eighths of southern European fifteen-year-olds and two-thirds of northern European fifteen-year-olds would live with both of their biological parents at age fifteen, compared to only half of all American fifteen-year-olds. The transformation of the American family since 1960 has been both an intellectual challenge and a recurrent source of frustration for social scientists. Some of the nation's best-known social theorists, including Gary Becker and William Julius Wilson, have sought to explain the change. Yet no consensus has emerged about why American families changed or why the amount of change varied by race and education. The most widely cited empirical papers seem to be those that disprove a popular explanation, not those that support one. Indeed, it is only a slight exaggeration to say that the main contribution of empirical social science to our understanding of family change has been to show that nothing caused it. Yet despite the absence of an identifiable culprit or a smoking gun, families did change. This report is divided into five sections. The first section discusses which changes in family structure should worry us. We argue that: • Those whose primary goal is to reduce child poverty should mainly worry about the increased proportion of children living with only one adult, especially adults with relatively low potential earnings. • Those whose primary goal is to improve children's overall well-being should also worry about the fact that even children in two-adult households are less likely to be living with both of their biological parents and more likely to be living with a stepparent or their mother's live-in boyfriend. • Those whose primary goal is to bring American behavior into line with traditional moral rules should worry about the rising age of marriage (which has led to a large increase in premarital sex), the decline of shotgun weddings (which has led to a large increase in nonmarital births), and the high rate of divorce. The next section describes the most important changes affecting children's living arrangements over the past generation. • Single-parent families have become more common in all demographic groups, but the increases have been greatest among less-educated women and African Americans. • Women in all demographic groups are marrying later than they did a generation ago. But while highly educated women have postponed both marriage and parenthood, less-educated women have postponed marriage more than parenthood. As a result, nonmarital births have risen dramatically among less-educated women but more modestly among the highly educated. • Compared to white women, African American women have also postponed marriage more than childbearing, so nonmarital births have risen faster among African Americans than among whites. • White women with a college degree seldom have children out of wedlock. Most of those who become single mothers marry before their child is born but then divorce. Divorce rates among the highly educated have not risen since the early 1980s, so the fraction of highly educated mothers raising children on their own has not changed much since 1980. • The increase in nonmarital births, which continued into the 1990s, was confined to the bottom two-thirds of the educational distribution. As a result, the association between a woman's educational attainment and her chances of being a single mother rose after 1980. • Cohabiting couples now account for nearly half of all nonmarital births in the United States. Among whites, cohabiting couples account for almost all of the increase in nonmarital births since 1980. But unlike cohabiting couples in Europe, cohabiting couples in the United States usually split up within a few years of their baby's birth. The fact that "high-risk" couples have been switching from marriage to cohabitation since 1980 probably played a role in stabilizing the divorce rate. It is not clear whether the switch from marriage to cohabitation increased the risk that any given couple would split up. • Attitudes toward premarital sex, gender roles, the value of marriage, and the acceptability of nonmarital childbearing changed rapidly during the late 1960s and 1970s. Such attitudes have changed far less since 1980. Changes in attitudes have not always moved in tandem with changes in behavior. Premarital sex increased sharply in the 1960s and 1970s, when attitudes were becoming more permissive. But premarital sex continued to increase during the 1980s and early 1990s, when attitudes towards premarital sex were not changing much. • The age at which individuals first have sexual intercourse (whether marital or premarital) fell only a little between 1960 and 1990, while the age at which individuals married rose substantially. Taken together, these two facts suggest that premarital sex mainly replaced marital sex, not abstinence. This pattern does not vary much by education. • In the early 1960s, most marriages were closely followed by a first birth. That linkage has now been broken. More women are having their first child well before they marry, and more women are marrying well before they have their first child. The third section discusses the social science literature on the role of wages, welfare benefits, and the sex ratio in explaining family change. The following section discusses the role of non-economic influences, such as changes in women's sense of control and efficacy, changes in attitudes toward nonmarital sex, cohabitation, nonmarital births, and divorce, and improvements in contraception, the legalization of abortion, and no-fault divorce. In the next section, we present some new evidence regarding some of these theories. We then present our conclusions in the final section. We come to several conclusions regarding the existing literature on changes in family composition: • Traditional economic models emphasize the economic advantages that flow from the fact that one partner can specialize in child-rearing while the other specializes in market labor. These models predict that improvements in men's earning power will make marriage more common, while improvements in women's earning power will make marriage less common. These models also predict that lower welfare benefits will make marriage more common, while a lower ratio of men to women will make marriage less common. • The wages available to men, the wages available to women, welfare benefits, and the sex ratio can explain a large fraction of the change in single-parenthood for different racial and educational groups. But the estimated impact of these variables is extremely sensitive to how we specify the statistical model.
Article
This chapter seeks to set out what Economists have learned about the effects of early childhood influences on later life outcomes, and about ameliorating the effects of negative influences. We begin with a brief overview of the theory which illustrates that evidence of a causal relationship between a shock in early childhood and a future outcome says little about whether the relationship in question biological or immutable. We then survey recent work which shows that events before five years old can have large long term impacts on adult outcomes. Child and family characteristics measured at school entry do as much to explain future outcomes as factors that labor economists have more traditionally focused on, such as years of education. Yet while children can be permanently damaged at this age, an important message is that the damage can often be remediated. We provide a brief overview of evidence regarding the effectiveness of different types of policies to provide remediation. We conclude with a list of some of (the many) outstanding questions for future research. Hard-copy subscribers may access the tables for this paper here.
Article
This study used a sample of single and married mothers with children under the age of 20 drawn from the 1992 and 1993 panels of the Survey of Income and Program Participation to examine one facet of the economic implications a child with disabilities brings to a family. Specifically, the choice of women with children to work full time, part time, or not at all was estimated as a function of individual and family characteristics, including the number and ages of children with disabilities. The presence of young children, with or without disabilities, has a significant negative influence on the work choice of both single and married mothers. However, once children enter elementary school, single mothers with disabled or nondisabled children and married mothers with nondisabled children are significantly more likely to enter the labor market or increase their labor market hours than are married mothers of school-age children with disabilities.