9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN14 Gender Relations in the Labour Market and the Welfare State

2009-09-04 13:30:00 2009-09-04 15:00:00 Friday, 4 September 13:30 - 15:00 Types of Work and Quality of Working Life Building AA, AA.223

Compromises between work or family among women in temporary employment

Finland is a country with a dual breadwinner model and relatively high fertility rate. Well-established family policy schemes are targeted to support the reconciliation of work and family as well as gender equality. However, drastic structural and economic changes, which have taken place in the labour market since 1990s, have made the reconciliation of work and family challenging for young employees.

The highest peak in the proportion of fixed-term employees was achieved in 1997, after which the proportion has, admittedly, decreased - but mainly among men. Today, temporary working is more common among women in Finland than in the EU27 at large, while the opposite is true as regards men. The voluntariness of fixed-term employment tends to vary according to the general labour market situation. While the situation seemed to improve to some extent during the good employment development in the 2000s, in the current economic situation may change the picture once again.

The growing pressures of work as well as the increase in insecurity and competition are in evidence when people make their choices between work and family. Earlier research suggests that the gendered structure of temporary employment in Finland is connected to both nativity and employment rate. The type of employment contract also seems to be connected to other kinds of compromises made in favour of work or family in situations where the two interests have been difficult to fit together.

In my paper I will study compromises, which women with temporary contracts have made between work and family, and the changes which have taken place in these choices due to the changing labour market situation in the past couple of decades.
The results are based on the Finnish Quality of Work Life Surveys 1990, 1997, 2003, 2008.

My study is a part of the research project The consequences of work insecurity on work - family relations and well-being , co- ordinated by the National Institute for Health and Welfare.