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Increased Women's Labour Force Participation in Europe: Progress in the Work-Life Balance or Polarization of Behaviours?


  • Olivier Thevenon

    () (INED - Institut national d'études démographiques)


Although the increase in female labour force participation is a fairly widespread trend, there is still a considerable diversity of situations across Europe from north to south. To identify the factors that may explain these differences, Olivier Thévenon uses data from the European Labour Force Surveys (EU-LFS) carried out in 14 countries between 1992 and 2005. For comparable educational levels and family situations (e.g. number of children, age of youngest child, single-parent status), the labour market behaviours of European women (inactive, short or long part-time work, full-time work) are very diverse. This diversity reflects differences in government policies targeting working mothers (help with reconciling work and childcare, encouragement to leave the labour market or to work part-time, etc.). In some contexts, women choose to postpone childbirth or to remain childless in order to pursue a working career. The increase in women's labour force participation may thus entail a certain polarization of behaviours.

Suggested Citation

  • Olivier Thevenon, 2009. "Increased Women's Labour Force Participation in Europe: Progress in the Work-Life Balance or Polarization of Behaviours?," Post-Print hal-00439108, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00439108
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    Cited by:

    1. Massimiliano Bratti & Laura Cavalli, 2014. "Delayed First Birth and New Mothers’ Labor Market Outcomes: Evidence from Biological Fertility Shocks," European Journal of Population, Springer;European Association for Population Studies, vol. 30(1), pages 35-63, February.
    2. Michaela Kreyenfeld & Gunnar Andersson, 2013. "Socioeconomic differences in the unemployment and fertility nexus: a comparison of Denmark and Germany," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2013-008, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.


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