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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 11: Women’s Employment in Britain

Katrin Golsch


Katrin Golsch 1 INTRODUCTION This chapter examines some implications globalization pressures have for women’s work and family life in Britain during the 1990s. Globalization is used here to refer to the complex interactions and growing interdependence between regional and national economies around the world, the intensification of competition, the spread of global networks, the increased volatility of labor, capital and product markets and the pronounced uncertainty in individual, family, social and political life (Mills and Blossfeld 2005). Prior research indicates that the globalization process may be inherently unstable, segments the occupational structure and hence leads young adults to experience different types of employment insecurity. Aside from its impact on labor market integration, the globalization process and its various types of uncertainty impede the life-course decision-making of men and women (Blossfeld et al. 2005; Mills and Blossfeld 2005). Yet, institutional entrenchment at the aggregate level appears to be a central mechanism through which insecurity is funneled. Britain provides an interesting case study of transformations in employment relationships, since it has already experienced some effects of the globalization process in increased levels of deregulation and through the liberalization of the labor market (Deakin and Reed 2000). Transitions from school to work appear increasingly complex, and insecure labor market positions hamper partnership and parenthood decisions of young Britons (Francesconi and Golsch 2005). Moreover, there is evidence to suggest that job insecurity has spread to adult men (Golsch 2006). But how do the changes in the degree of social protection under globalization affect adult...

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