The world of work for women is not the world of work for men

`The world of work for women is not the world of work for men` were the opening lines from Eurofound’s representative Barbara Gerstenberger. Ms. Gerstenberger was addressing the difficult reality of gender issues in the workplace at CESI’s FEMM/SOC Commission meeting in Brussels this week.

The world of work for women is not the world of work for men

Job quality, job satisfaction, exposure to violence, and though it should not, the list goes on and on as areas of work-life where women have it worse off than men.  These are the findings of a report on Women, men and working conditions in Europe. In 2014, Eurofound are working to expose the existence of these very issues by looking at the gender employment gap and any economic implications these might have.

In examining the area of pay, Eurofound are seeing that there is a discriminatory bias against women even after factors such as the type of contract, family, job history and personal characteristics are taken into account. These revelations need to be brought to the attention of policy-makers more and more.

On the type of work, women generally work more part time than men do. However on asked if they would like to work more, women are more likely to say yes, and men are more likely to say no. These types of answers are crucial for policy making in the labour market according to Eurofound. The policies should surely go in the direction where there is more appetite for work.

The important factor was on the flexibility of working time. In being able to choose more freely when the working time was, there is a great potential for inactivity rates for women on the labour market to be significantly reduced. This forms an important component of the business case for greater female participation in the workplace.

Ms. Gerstenberger conceded there was no magic wand to be waved in order to solve the problem. Focusing on only the labour market will not help either. What features at the heart of the inequalities between men and women in work is the work-family interface, where professional life meets the family life.

The meeting also looked at the issue of free movement with a focus on labour mobility, a topic which the EU has dealt extensively with during the course of this European Parliament’s legislature which comes to an end in May 2014.

CESI would like to thank Barbara Gerstenberger for her valuable contribution to CESI’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Commission.

The report on Women, men and working conditions in Europe explores gender differences across several dimensions of working conditions, examining relevant country differences, analysing the different occupational groups of both men and women, and comparing the public and private sectors.