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Globalization, Uncertainty and Women’s Careers

An International Comparison

Edited by Hans-Peter Blossfeld and Heather Hofmeister

Globalization, Uncertainty and Women’s Careers assesses the effects of globalization on the life courses of women in thirteen countries across Europe and America in the second half of the 20th century.
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Chapter 6: Danish Women’s Unemployment, Job Mobility and Non-Employment, 1980s and 1990s: Marked by Globalization?

Daniela Grunow and Søren Leth-Sørensen


Daniela Grunow and Søren Leth-Sørensen INTRODUCTION The Danish variant of the ‘Scandinavian welfare-state model’ was based on a strong ideology of equality and state-facilitated female labor market participation; it also actively promoted market flexibility largely through the absence of employment protection measures. Yet it was established at a time when labor market conditions became more favorable and unemployment was lower, so how have Danish women’s careers fared in the late twentieth century under globalization pressures? This chapter addresses this question with respect to job mobility, unemployment risk, labor market exits and women’s subsequent chances of re-employment. Globalization theorists have argued that women, and especially mothers, face severe disadvantages in the labor market during times of increasing flexibilization and large-scale unemployment (Beck 1986). Using linked register data from the IDA database (Integrated Database for Labor Market Research, for which see Leth-Sørensen 1997), mid-career employment transitions of two female birth cohorts are studied longitudinally for the period between 1980 and 1999. The analyses focus not only on the effects of macro-economic and legislative changes ‘in times of globalization,’ but also take women’s human capital and career investments as well as changes in women’s family situation into account. As previous research has shown, Denmark is a special case because of its long tradition of combining a high level of labor market flexibility (hire and fire labor market) and trade openness with high levels of social security (Braun 2003; Grunow and Leth-Sørensen 2006; Madsen 1999; 2002). Another peculiarity is...

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