Varieties of Women’s Part-Time Employment and Labor Market Segmentation

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 10:45
Oral Presentation
Birgit PFAU-EFFINGER, University of Hamburg, Germany
Thordis REIMER, University of Hamburg, Germany
The paper aims at revealing how welfare states with the institutional construction of different forms of part-time employment may have contributed to a segmentation within the field of women’s part-time employment. Part-time work is a form of employment that many women choose in order to combine employment and parental childcare. In sociology of work, labour market theory and comparative welfare state research, part-time work is often characterised as precarious type of employment that is performed by marginalised groups who are ‘outsiders’ of the employment system. This paper challenges this argument. On the basis of theories of labour market segmentation, the paper argues that part-time work is a heterogeneous field of work that may comprise jobs in the “internal” segment of the core workers as well as in the “external” segment of marginalised workers. With the institutional construction of different forms of part-time work that differ fundamentally with regard to the conditions of the work contract, welfare states may contribute to the segmentation of part-time work and the inequality of social risks of women who are working part-time work.

Using the case of Germany, the paper examines with German panel data (GSOEP) how different institutionally constructed forms of part-time work are connected to different segments of the employment system, indicated by the characteristics of women’s part-time jobs and the related social risks, and how women due to their individual and biographical characteristics are distributed between these different forms of part-time work and employment segments.

The paper is innovative in that it provides insights into the ways in which welfare state policies may contribute to the segmentation of women’s part-time work and thus promote inequality among par-time working women.