Austerity, the Public Sector and the Threat to Gender Equality

March 23, 2015 | Geary Lecture Series

Authors: Jill Rubery
The Economic and Social Review , Vol. 46 , No. 1 , Spring, 2015 , pp. 1-27

Europe is in the grip of austerity policies. Some governments regard this as a medium term cyclical correction but others seek a long term shrinking of the social state. This shrinkage applies particularly to the state’s social roles as: a source of income support; a provider of free or subsidised public services; a direct employer; and a defence against the marketisation of society. All four areas have specific significance for women such that we cannot envisage progress towards gender equality in Europe, understood as a socially progressive objective, without a reversal of the austerity trends and an active social state.

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