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Title: Economic policy, childcare and the unpaid economy : exploring gender equality in Scotland
Author: Azong, Jecynta A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5917 2181
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2015
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The research undertaken represents an in-depth study of gender and economics from a multi-disciplinary perspective. By drawing on economic, social policy and political science literature it makes an original contribution to the disciplines of economics and feminist economics by advancing ideas on a feminist theory of policy change and institutional design. Equally, the study develops a framework for a multi-method approach to feminist research with applied policy focus by establishing a pragmatic feminist research paradigm. By espousing multiple research philosophies, it extends understanding of gender differences in policy outcomes by connecting theories from feminist economics, feminist historical institutionalism and ideational processes. Jointly funded by the Economic and Social Research Council UK and the Scottish Government, this project attempts to answer three key questions: What is the relative position of men and women in the Scottish economy and how do childcare responsibilities influence these? Which institutions, structures and processes have been instrumental in embedding gender in Scottish economic policy? To what extent and how is the Scottish Government’s approach to economic policy gendered? Quantitative analysis reveals persistently disproportionate differences in men and women’s position in the labour market. Women remain over-represented in part-time employment and in the public sector in the 10years under investigation. Using panel data, the multinomial logistic regression estimation of patterns in labour market transitions equally reveal disproportionate gendered patterns, with families with dependent children 0-4years at a disadvantage to those without. Qualitative analysis indicates that these differences are partly explained by the fact that the unpaid economy still remains invisible to policymakers despite changes in the institutional design, policy processes and the approach to equality policymaking undertaken in Scotland. Unpaid childcare work is not represented as policy relevant and the way gender, equality and gender equality are conceptualised within institutional sites and on political agendas pose various challenges for policy development on unpaid childcare work and gender equality in general. Additionally, policymakers in Scotland do not integrate both the paid and unpaid economies in economic policy formulation since social policy and economic policy are designed separately. The study also establishes that the range of institutions and actors that make-up the institutional setting for regulating and promoting equality, influence how equality issues are treated within a national context. In Scotland, equality regulating institutions such as parliament, the Scottish Government, equality commission and the law are instrumental variables in determining the range of equality issues that are embedded in an equality infrastructure and the extent to which equality issues, including gender, are consequently embedded in public policy and government budgets. Significantly despite meeting all the attributes of an equality issue, unpaid care is not classified as a protected characteristic in the Equality legislation. These institutions can ameliorate, sustain or perpetuate the delivery of unequitable policy outcomes for men and women in the mutually dependent paid and unpaid economy. Thus, economic, social and political institutions are not independent from one another but are interrelated in complex ways that subsequently have material consequences on men and women in society. In summary, there are interlinkages between the law, labour market, the unpaid economy, the welfare state and gendered political institutions such that policy or institutional change in one will be dependent on or trigger change in another. These institutions are gendered, but are also interlinked and underpin the gender structure of other institutions to the extent that the gendered norms and ideas embedded in one institution, for example legislation or political institutions, structure the gendered dimensions of the labour market, welfare state, and the unpaid economy. By shedding light on institutional and political forces that regulate equality in addition to macroeconomic forces, the analysis reveals the important role of institutions, policy actors and their ideas as instrumental forces which constantly define, redefine and reconstruct the labour market experiences of men and women with significant material consequences.
Supervisor: Rutherford, Alasdair ; Rummery, Kirstein ; Wilinska, Monika Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council ; Scottish Government ; University of Stirling
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Gender equality ; labour market participation ; Unpaid economy ; Unpaid care work ; Childcare ; Scotland ; Economic policy ; Gender mainstreaming ; feminist economics ; Actors ; Ideas ; Equality ; Institutions ; Feminist movements ; Government budgets ; Feminist historical institutionalism ; Elite interviewing ; Gender ; Welfare states ; Social policy ; Scottish parliament ; Scottish Government ; Feminist research ; Work and family ; Households--Economic aspects ; Sex role--Economic aspects ; Equality--Scotland ; Unpaid labor ; Child care