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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 9: Women and the Labor Market in the Czech Republic: Transition from a Socialist to a Social-Democratic Regime?

Dana Hamplová


Dana Hamplová INTRODUCTION Former socialist countries attempted to create self-sufficient economic units that stood outside the international marketplace, using central planning and governmental intervention as a substitute for market forces. This was ultimately neither economically nor politically viable. In a sense, such countries engaged in a rather unsuccessful experiment in shutting themselves off from the trends characteristic of globalization. It could therefore be argued that after the collapse of communism, these countries experienced ‘globalization shock.’ While market economies were able to adapt to globalization trends at a relatively gradual pace, formerly socialist economies faced quite sudden pressures to liberalize their economies. This chapter will address the effects of the transition on women’s labor market experiences in the Czech Republic with an eye toward evaluating which welfare regime type is emerging. Hans-Peter Blossfeld (2000) and others (Layte et al. 2002) have argued that the impact of economic liberalization, free trade and other typical forms of globalization are influenced by country-specific logic, mechanisms and institutions. Though this logic was applied to compare different types of welfare regimes, it is also valid for post-socialist countries. Some socialist countries (such as Hungary or Poland) adopted market-oriented reforms by the late 1970s, while others (such as Czechoslovakia) maintained a rigid, centrally planned economy until the collapse of communism. Countryspecific institutional filters and social policies mediated the speed and extent with which these countries undertook the transition to a market economy and were inspired by different types of welfare regimes. For example, while Hungary headed towards...

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