9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN14 Gender Relations in the Labour Market and the Welfare State

2009-09-05 11:00:00 2009-09-05 12:30:00 Saturday, 5 September 11:00 - 12:30 Gender, Age and Other Causes and Consequences of Segregation Building AA, AA.223

Women in the Sandwich Generation in Europe: main tensions and new pressures upon recent socio-economic trends

Women in the sandwich generation face multiple tasks to be performed at the same time. How do women in Europe cope with the multitude of demands?
While in former times "breadwinner model" women covered household and family obligations, i.e. care for children and older relatives, their growing labour market activeness reduced the time available for such tasks. Various socio-economic developments affect the load of responsibilities for women and the challenges for the welfare states. Prominent in this respect are changes in family structures, the rising number of single parent families (mostly headed by women) as well as population ageing, which on the one side reduces the pool of available family help while on the other creates rising needs for formal and informal old age care. Recent economic developments creating insecure situations on labour markets add further pressures on families and welfare states.
In the present paper we investigate the situation of women in the sandwich generation taking into account former traditions and recent socio-economic developments across an enlarged Europe. Using cluster analysis (with input such as employment, the current labour market situations, care for children/older relatives and ageing), we develop a country classification in order to reveal diversities and main tendencies related to these main tensions and new pressures for the sandwich generation.
On the basis of the country classification results, challenges and orientations for future family policy, but also for labour market and pension policies, may be drawn.