Mechanisms behind part-time work in the Nordic countries

Part-time-in-the-Nordic-region-IIWomen show much higher rates of part-time employment than men and this pattern can be found in all Nordic countries. But what are the mechanisms behind this gender inequality in part-time work?

The second study in the series was initiated in autumn 2013 and finished in 2014. It explores the reasons for women’s higher rates of part-time employment at the individual, organisational and societal levels. The study was presented at a conference in Reykjavik in November 2014 and is described in a report and a factsheet.

According to the report, the determinants of women’s part-time employment include workplace organisation, health concerns and the fact that women tend to carry a disproportionate responsibility for family life and their children. Many female part-time workers also say that full-time employment is difficult to find. The probability of involuntary part-time work is particularly high among women, non-natives and those with low levels of education.

Experts met at the conference in Reykjavik to identify important issues for the future. The conference participants pointed out that increased possibilities for women to work full time will require expansions in the areas of child and elderly care. They also emphasised that the issue of women’s part-time employment is closely linked to the fact that men do not work part time to the same extent. Focusing only on women’s part-time work will not solve the problem. Instead, there needs to be a focus on the distribution of part-time work and family responsibilities.

Read more about the conference and access the report, titled Part-time Work in the Nordic Region II, in the blue menu (to the right on your computer, below this content on your mobile).

Logotype Nordic Council of Ministers Logotype Swedish Secretariat for Gender Research Logotype University of Gothenburg