Sweden and German gender inequalities in employment - Essay Example

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Sweden and Germany: Gender inequalities in employment Introduction The following brief discussion will focus on gender inequalities in employment in Germany and Sweden. It will cover a variety of issues. Gender inequalities in employment are subtle, diverse and complicated, necessitating a multi-faceted approach…
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Sweden and German gender inequalities in employment
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Download file to see previous pages The EU notes that, “across Europe women earn on average 17.8% less than men”, meaning that Sweden is slightly above the median and Germany is almost 4.5% below it. The inclusion of a EU-wide average facilitates comparability. In large measure the gender pay gap directly expresses that women do not receive equal pay for work of equal value. However, it still does not adequately explain the nuances of the gender pay gap and inequality in employment. (EC, 2010) The existence of a 'glass ceiling' barriers and limits to promotions is also a factor. If women are denied access to the highest paying (and most influential) management positions this will manifest itself in an aggregate gender pay gap. Similarly, if a country's pregnancy and parental leave programs are inadequate and family causes women to interrupt their career path this will be reflected in the gender pay gap. Simply put, inequality in employment influences more than only equal pay for work of equal value. This paper will examine key laws and policies aimed at promoting gender equality in employment in Sweden and Germany. It will identify and account for similarities and differences in the development and implementation of gender equality policies in these two countries. History and type of welfare regime in Sweden and Germany Throughout the 1990s in Sweden the gender pay gap remained relatively static at approximately 17.5%. According to the European Industrial Relations Observatory (EIRO) “Comparative study on gender pay equity: The case of Sweden”, “the trend is that lately, over the last ten years, with some smaller fluctuations, the wage differences between men and women are about the same. There is a decrease of the gap shown in some years, next year there is a small increase.” Throughout this period, “females earned an average of 83% of male wages.” (EIRO, “Sweden”, 2002) The statistics for Germany were much more dynamic in this period. However, they are also incomplete and difficult to work with as the period included the reunification of the two Germanies. However, they parallel Sweden with little change and a slightly higher level of the gender pay gap. (EIRO, “Germany”, 2002) Philosophically there are more profound and apparent differences between the social welfare systems in the two countries. Mandel and Shale have developed a typology for social welfare regimes that is useful in this situation. They characterise European social welfare systems as conservative, liberal or social democratic. The differences between the three are predicated on the three roles the social welfare system can play. According to Mandel and Shalev (2009), “Scandinavian social democracy is associated with patterns of intervention that exemplify all three roles: the state substitutes for Source: Mandel and Shalev, 2009. functions otherwise performed by markets or families and it does so with a distinct emphasis on service provision (as opposed to income maintenance), which turns it into a massive employer.” It decommodifies and defamilializes social welfare. This is the model that Sweden exemplifies. The second country under consideration, Germany, is characterised as 'conservative' by Mandel and Shalev. “Germany, France and Spain form a second cluster which is made up of conservative countries that are less ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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