Women in the Economy and Labour Market

Posted on March 11, 2013 by Micheál Collins

Last week, on International Women's Day, I spoke at the ICTU joint women's committee seminar on the topic of 'Women in the Economy and the Labour Market'. My paper highlighted the latest data on the current challenges facing women, North and South, as they participate in the economy, enter or leave the labour market and cope with the impacts of the recession.

While I pointed at a number of potential remedies to the persistent gender wage gap and low participation rates among Irish women, the subsequent session addresses some of the potential solutions in more detail. Listening to the various inputs into that session, I thought there would be merit in linking it to some of the recent relevant NERI research and outputs. These include:

  • A properly structured stimulus to the economies north and south would help address some of the negative domestic demand associated effects of the recent recession on women. See work by my colleagues Rory O'Farrell and Tom Healy here and the NERI QEO from September 2012 here. For a northern perspective see Paul McFlynn's recent policy paper on Investing in Northern Ireland here.
  • A proper system of childcare (from 0-12 years) is needed. Clearly this comes with a big cost, but there are reasonable and feasible pathways we should be following. My recent blog on investing in our children links to a recent presentation I delivered on this issue.
  • As my presentation showed, women are more concentrated in the low-wage sectors of the economy. Campaigns such as those for a living wage highlight the potential for delivering decent and well paid work for all individuals. Such policies would have notable gender equality benefits. Alongside my presentation to the seminar, I recently outlined these issues at an ICTU conference on 'Decent Work'. This blog links to my presentation and to other research I have undertaken linked to decent earnings and income.

My presentation to the ICTU Womens' Seminar is here.

Posted in: GenderIncomeInequality

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