Women's earnings security in a context of economic crisis
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There are likely to be important gender differences in both the short and long term effects of economic downturns (ILO, 2009; Tutnjevic, 2002). Typically the differences are attributable to three contrasts between the working lives of men and women. Firstly, women are traditionally over represented in casualised workforce sectors that are relatively less regulated and susceptible to changes in working hours and employment conditions. Secondly, men and women are concentrated in different industries and occupations and therefore the gender effects of a change in economic conditions differ according to the effects on specific sectors of the economy. Thirdly, women in Australia and many other societies undertake a disproportionately large amount of unpaid household work. In this article we review official Australian data on women's employment, earnings and wealth immediately preceding and after September 2008. The data show that, while patterns of employment and earnings appear, superficially, to demonstrate that women are faring comparatively well there are also indications that there are serious short and long term challenges for women in the Australian labour market. This has serious implications for policy and for the growing number of men who are facing patterns of employment that were once more strongly associated with feminised workforces.
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