Austerity and women’s employment trajectories in Spain and the UK: A comparison of two flexible labour markets


Using a mixed methods approach this article investigates the impact of the financial crisis and austerity on women’s employment and life chances in Spain and the UK through tracking women’s changing labour market transitions and exploring women’s responses to disrupted employment paths. Women’s experiences were found to be strongly influenced by the different employment and social models and the specific austerity policies. In Spain women faced increases in both labour market flexibility and segmentation, involving more entrapment in unemployment and temporary jobs and declining protection within permanent contracts. In the UK women retained more access to employment but faced destabilisation of public sector employment and a strong budget squeeze from wage and benefit cuts. They were less able than women in Spain to draw on both family support and unemployment benefits to reorient their careers, but in both countries women were resisting employment changes and reaffirming their commitment to employment

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Leicester Research Archive

Last time updated on 13/05/2020

This paper was published in Leicester Research Archive.

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