Configurations of Gender Inequality and Segregation in Employment Across Welfare Regimes

This research assesses how far gendered welfare regime typologies hold when measuring countries’ performance across multiple gendered employment outcomes via a cluster analysis of 24 industrialised countries. It finds that countries with similar family policy designs resemble each other in their gendered employment outcomes. Nevertheless, France’s positioning in the Liberal regime and notable differences among Eastern European countries suggest that the broader context in which family policies are situated may also matter for understanding cross-national patterns of women’s employment outcomes. The analysis additionally highlights the internal inconsistency of the concept of gender equality in employment, as each regime is a unique and complex mix of high inequality on certain outcomes but low inequality on others. However, claims of a welfare state ‘paradox’ appear too pessimistic: countries with low female employment participation do not necessarily outperform more progressive states on indicators of segregation and gender pay gaps among the highly educated.