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Degendering Work Time in Comparative Perspective: Alternative Policy Frameworks

By Deborah Figart and Ellen Mutari

Abstract

Policy initiatives providing for alternative working time arrangements as well as a shortened standard work week have become prevalent in recent years, especially among the highly industrialized countries of northern Europe. We find that despite institutional differences, Germany, France, and Sweden have adopted policies that explicitly or implicitly contribute to the gendering of work time. Increasingly, what differentiates gender roles is not whetherindividuals have a job, but the amount of timespent in paid employment. The expansion of overtime for men and part-time jobs for women reinforces the skewed division of domestic labor and occupational segregation. European unions are acquiescing to work reorganization policies that promote the expansion of both part-time and overtime as long as these policies are coupled with measures facilitating work redistribution to save jobs. Broader visions of work reduction as a means to gender equity have been shunted to the background.work time, European Union, women's employment, part-time work, flexibility, labor market policy,

DOI identifier: 10.1080/00346769800000045
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