Cross-national perspective

Ariane Hegewisch and Janet Gornick have a new report out on what countries other than the US are doing to mandate workplace flexibility.  It’s all quite astonishing from the US perspective, but I’m honestly most surprised by the statistic that the US has the lowest labor force participation rate for college-educated prime-age women of any of the countries studied.  That’s a pretty strong response to the claim that "no one will hire women" in Europe because of the social protections.    It also makes it hard to believe that US women’s labor force participation has hit its "natural limits" and can’t possibly go any higher.

Ariane said that she might be up for being "interviewed" on this blog — what questions would you like to ask her?

5 Responses to “Cross-national perspective”

  1. EdgeWise Says:

    NGO Save the Children puts out an annual Mother’s Index, ranking countries as the best and worst places to be a woman and a child. Similarly, other groups have more “pure” quality of life indicator measurements without criteria that overlap with your report. How well do the policies you track correlate with these other studies? Are there anomalies (good policies, but bad quality of life or vice versa)?

  2. Christine Says:

    In an effort to boost national population rates governments seem to have put in place very flexible workplace policies. Did they expect discrimination would follow regarding the hiring of women of child-bearing years? What are governments with mandated workplace flexibility doing to combat hiring discrimination? Have there been studies done to compare discrimination against fathers that are mandated to follow family leave policies vs. mothers?

  3. bj Says:

    I guess I’m wondering where the women work? I haven’t read the report, but I thought the low proportions of women in private sector employment in countries like Germany was well documented. Perhaps that’s not college educated women? Not in the private sector?
    I’m not a free market absolutist, but I always get stuck on the idea that policies that make one class of employees less profitable will result in discrimination.

  4. jen Says:

    I wonder, what’s the relationship between unemployment levels and workforce participation by women? You would think that when unemployment levels go high enough, workplaces would be forced to adjust. Yet the fact that so many countries are mandating this seems to imply that market factors simply do not do the job. I find it very interesting that government intervention has been so universally required.

  5. Elizabeth Says:

    Sorry I took so long to get back to this — Ariane’s answers are posted at:
    http://www.halfchangedworld.com/2008/07/cross-national.html

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