Austerity has become the new principle for public policy in Europe and the US as the financial crisis of 2008 has been converted into a public debt crisis. However, current austerity measures risk losing past progress towards gender equality by undermining important employment and social welfare protections and putting gender equality policy onto the back burner. This volume constitutes the first attempt to identify how the economic crisis and the subsequent austerity policies are affecting women in Europe and the US, tracing the consequences for gender equality in employment and welfare systems in nine case studies from countries facing the most severe adjustment problems.

The contributions adopt a common framework to analyse women in recession, which takes into account changes in women’s position and current austerity conditions. The findings demonstrate that in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, employment gaps between women and men declined — but due only to a deterioration in men’s employment position rather than any improvements for women. Tables are set to be turned by the austerity policies which are already having a more negative impact on demand for female labour and on access to services which support working mothers. Women are nevertheless reinforcing their commitment to paid work, even at this time of increasing demands on their unpaid domestic labour.

Future prospects are bleak. Current policy is reinforcing the same failed mechanisms that caused the crisis in the first place and is stalling or even reversing the long term growth in social investment in support for care. This book makes the case for gender equality to be placed at the centre of any progressive plan for a route out of the crisis.

part I|53 pages

Developing the analytical framework

chapter 1|14 pages

Introduction — Women's Vulnerability to Recession and Austerity

A different crisis, a different context
ByMaria Karamessini

chapter 2|20 pages

From ‘Women and Recession' to ‘Women and Austerity'

A framework for analysis
ByJill Rubery

chapter 3|17 pages

Challenging the Balkanization of Gender Contracts

ByJacqueline O'Reilly, Tiziana Nazio

part II|215 pages

Recession and austerity: experiences in the EU and selected country cases

chapter 4|25 pages

Women and Men in the ‘Great European Recession' 1

ByFrancesca Bettio, Alina Verashchagina

chapter 5|20 pages

Gender Impacts of the ‘Great Recession' in the United States

ByRandy Albelda

chapter 6|21 pages

Iceland in Crisis

Gender equality and social equity 1
ByThora Kristin Thorsdottir

chapter 7|21 pages

Gender, Recession and Austerity in the uk

ByJill Rubery, Anthony Rafferty

chapter 9|21 pages

Structural Crisis and Adjustment in Greece

Social regression and the challenge to gender equality
ByMaria Karamessini

chapter 10|21 pages

Ireland in Crisis

Women, austerity and inequality
ByUrsula Barry, Pauline Conroy

chapter 11|21 pages

Employment and Austerity

Changing welfare and gender regimes in Portugal
ByVirgínia Ferreira

chapter 12|20 pages

Women, Gender Equality and the Economic Crisis in Spain

ByElvira González Gago, Marcelo Segales Kirzner

chapter 13|22 pages

Living Through the Crisis in Italy

The labour market experiences of men and women
ByAlina Verashchagina, Marina Capparucci

part III|81 pages

The policy challenges and the prospects for gender equality

chapter 14|22 pages

Policy in the Time of Crisis

Employment policy and gender equality in Europe
ByPaola Villa, Mark Smith

chapter 15|19 pages

Gender, Inequality and the Crisis

Towards more equitable development
ByDiane Perrons, Ania Plomien

chapter 16|38 pages

Economic Crisis and Austerity

Challenges to gender equality
ByMaria Karamessini, Jill Rubery