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National Working-Time Regimes and Equal Opportunities


  • Jill Rubery
  • Mark Smith
  • Colette Fagan


Progress towards equal opportunities is critically dependent upon the development of a more equal and more balanced allocation of time in both paid and unpaid work. Gender divisions relating to working time arise primarily from differences in gender divisions within the household but the extent and form that these gender divisions take in the labor market are moderated or mediated by national working-time regimes. These regimes are found to be extremely diverse across Europe with very different implications for gender equality. Current interests in greater flexibility in working time are leading to pressures to changes in working-time regimes and to an increase in the extent of unsocial hours working. The strategies adopted to meet these pressures may vary by country and sector but the restructuring of working time is also likely to be influenced by gender factors and divisions. The result may be increasing differentiation by both gender and class. Progress towards equality requires a renewal of interest in reducing standard working hours and a questioning of the current assumption that increasing unsocial hours working is essential for competitiveness.

Suggested Citation

  • Jill Rubery & Mark Smith & Colette Fagan, 1998. "National Working-Time Regimes and Equal Opportunities," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 4(1), pages 71-101.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:femeco:v:4:y:1998:i:1:p:71-101
    DOI: 10.1080/135457098338572

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    Cited by:

    1. Joan Esteban & Laurence Kranich, 2003. "The Social Contracts with Endogenous Sentiments," Working Papers 71, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
    2. Kea Tijdens, 2002. "Gender Roles and Labor Use Strategies: Women's Part-Time Work in the European Union," Feminist Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 8(1), pages 71-99.

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    Gender; Working Time; Equality; Europe;


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