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Understanding inequalities of access to the labour market: The intersection of gender and ethnicity

English title Understanding inequalities of access to the labour market: The intersection of gender and ethnicity
Applicant Wastl-Walter Doris
Number 129293
Funding scheme NRP 60 Gender Equality
Research institution Geographisches Institut Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Social geography and ecology
Start/End 01.12.2010 - 30.11.2013
Approved amount 325'178.00
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Keywords (4)

Labour-Market; Gender; Ethnicity; Women's strategies

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Je nach ethnischer Herkunft bzw. Nationalität erleben Frauen Benachteiligungen am Arbeitsmarkt in verschiedener Weise und Intensität. Diese Studie setzt sich zum Ziel, empirisch fundierte Antworten auf die Frage zu finden, wie das Zusammenspiel von Geschlecht und ethnischer Herkunft zu Chancenungleichheit auf dem Arbeitsmarkt führt.
Lay summary

Hintergrund
Bis heute gibt es kaum umfassende und differenzierte Studien, die sich damit befassen, wie berufliche Ungleichheiten auf dem Schweizer Arbeitsmarkt aufgrund von ethnischer Herkunft/Nationalität und Geschlecht entstehen und wieso sie weiterhin existieren. Dabei stellen sich folgende Fragen:

  1. Wie führt das Zusammenspiel von Geschlecht und ethnischer Herkunft zu unterschiedlichen Situationen von Benachteiligungen?
  2. Wie erfolgreich sind Frauen langfristig, ihr Fachwissen einsetzen und weiterentwickeln zu können?
  3. Welche Strategien entwickeln Frauen, um die Hindernisse am Arbeitsmarkt zu überwinden und Qualifikationen einzusetzen oder zu erwerben?

Ziel
Diese Studie setzt sich zum Ziel, Antwort auf die oben genannten Fragen zu geben. Dabei werden Schweizerinnen und Nicht-Schweizerinnen mit beruflicher oder universitärer Ausbildung verglichen. Die Studie kombiniert quantitative und qualitative Methoden. Neben statistischen Auswertungen der Schweizerischen Arbeitskräfteerhebung (2009) führen die Forschenden Gespräche mit Expertinnen und Experten, MINGA-Workshops und biographische Interviews durch. Letztere werden mit beiden Partnern eines Haushaltes geführt, um herauszufinden, wie sich die beruflichen Laufbahnen von Mann und Frau vor und nach der Geburt von Kindern entwickelt haben.

Bedeutung
Mit der Studie erarbeiten die Forschenden eine umfassende Wissensgrundlage, die es ermöglicht, innovative Massnahmen für mehr Chancengleichheit am Arbeitsmarkt zu entwickeln. Die Massnahmen sollten zum einen die Perspektive von Schweizerinnen und Nicht-Schweizerinnen differenziert berücksichtigen und zum anderen der Abwertung beruflicher Qualifikationen von Frauen vorbeugen helfen. Zudem sind sie ressourcenorientiert, bauen auf den von den Frauen selbst entwickelten Strategien auf und richten besondere Aufmerksamkeit darauf, wie die Organisation des Haushalts die (ungleichen) Chancen von Frauen am Arbeitsmarkt beeinflusst.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.06.2013

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Selon leur origine ethnique ou leur nationalité, les femmes font l’expérience de désavantages sur le marché du travail, de manières diverses et avec une intensité variable. Cette étude a pour objectif de répondre empiriquement à la question suivante : comment la conjonction du sexe et de l’origine ethnique conduit-elle à une inégalité des chances sur le marché du travail ?
Lay summary

Contexte
Il n’existe jusqu’à présent guère d’études globales et différenciées qui investiguent comment des inégalités professionnelles liées à l’origine ethnique ou à la nationalité et au sexe apparaissent sur le marché du travail suisse et pourquoi elles perdurent. Les questions suivantes se posent à ce sujet :

  1. Comment la conjonction du sexe et de l’origine ethnique conduit-elle à différentes situations de préjudices ?
  2. 2. Les femmes réussissent-elles à long terme à employer leur savoir professionnel et à le développer ?
  3. 3. Quelles stratégies les femmes développent-elles pour surmonter les obstacles sur le marché du travail et pour employer ou acquérir leur qualification ?

But
Cette étude a pour objectif de répondre aux questions mentionnées ci-dessus. Elle compare des Suissesses et des non-Suissesses avec une formation professionnelle ou universitaire. L’étude combine des méthodes quantitatives et qualitatives. Le groupe de recherche procède à des analyses statistiques de l’Enquête suisse sur la population active (2009) et conduit des entretiens avec des expertes et des experts, des ateliers participatifs (MINGA-Workshops) ainsi que des entretiens biographiques. Le groupe de recherche mène les entretiens biographiques avec les deux partenaires d’un ménage pour voir comment la carrière professionnelle de l’homme et de la femme se sont développées avant et après la naissance d’enfants.

Portée
Le groupe de recherche élabore avec cette étude des connaissances étendues qui permettent de développer des mesures novatrices en faveur d’une plus grande égalité des chances sur le marché du travail. Les mesures devraient, d’une part, prendre en compte de manière différenciée la perspective des Suissesses et celle des non-Suissesses et, d’autre part, aider à prévenir la dévalorisation des qualifications professionnelles de femmes. En outre, elles doivent être orientées sur les ressources, construire à partir des stratégies mises en place par les femmes elles-mêmes et accorder une attention particulière au fait que l’organisation du ménage influe sur les chances (inégales) des femmes sur le marché du travail.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.06.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Women experience inequality in the labour market in various ways and intensities depending on their ethnicity/nationality. This study aims at providing an empirically sound understanding of how gender and ethnicity intersect to generate gender inequalities in the labour market.
Lay summary

Background
At present we still do not have a complete and differentiated understanding of how and why gender inequalities in the Swiss labour market persist. Three areas in particular need to be addressed: (a) how the intersection of gender and ethnicity/national origin generates unequal access to paid work, (b) the extent to which women succeed in applying, maintaining and further developing their professional qualifications in the labour market, (c) the strategies that they devise to counteract hurdles they face in the labour market and apply and acquire new professional qualifications.

Aim
Using a comparative perspective, this project aims to address the three areas presented above regarding both women of Swiss and non-Swiss origin that have vocational training or university education. The study combines quantitative and qualitative methods. Beyond statistical analysis of the 2009 Labour Force Survey, the methods of study include expert interviews, MINGA workshops and biographical interviews. The latter will be carried out with both members of couple households in order to understand how the professional careers of the man and the woman evolve before and after having children.

Significance
It is expected that the project’s findings will provide a comprehensive knowledge base for developing innovative policies towards gender equality in the labour market that: (a) build on a differentiated perspective, thus taking into account women of Swiss and non-Swiss origin, (b) address the problem from a dynamic perspective, thus devising measures that help to prevent the devaluation of women’s professional qualifications, (c) are resource-oriented, thus building on women’s own strategies, and (d) give special attention to the impact of household arrangements on the (unequal) situation of women in the labour market.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.06.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Shaping Gender Inequalities: Critical Moments and Critical Places
Riaño Yvonne Limacher Katharina Schwanden André Hirsig Sophie Wastl-Walter Doris, Shaping Gender Inequalities: Critical Moments and Critical Places, in Equality, Diversity, Inclusion: An International Journal.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Université de Lausanne Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Abteilung Gleichstellung von Frauen und Männer Basel Stadt Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Family and Career Network at La Roche, Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Universität Zürich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Fachstelle für die Gleichstellung von Frau und Mann Stadt Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
International Conference "Border Transgressions: Mobility and Mobilization in Crisis Talk given at a conference Conceptualising Space in Transnational Migration Studies. A Gender Perspective 09.05.2014 Bonn, Germany Riaño Yvonne;
International Seminar on The Integration of Highly Skilled Migrant Women into the Labour Market: Challenges, Opportunities and Responses Talk given at a conference Challenges and Opportunities for Highly Skilled Migrant Women in the Swiss Labour Market 14.10.2013 Wien, Austria Riaño Yvonne;
Annual Congress of the German-Speaking Geographers Association (Geographentag) Talk given at a conference Neue (Un-)Gleichheiten im Schweizer Arbeitsmarkt aus der Perspektive von Geschlecht und Migrationshintergrund 05.10.2013 Passau, Germany Riaño Yvonne;
International Geographical Union Conference IGU Talk given at a conference Inequalities in Paid Work: The Significance of Gender and Ethnicity in Switzerland 04.08.2013 Nara, Japan Bühler-Conrad Elisabeth;
Annual Congress of the Swiss Sociological Society Talk given at a conference Ungleichheiten im Erwerbsleben aufgrund von Geschlecht und Migrationshintergrund 26.06.2013 Bern, Switzerland Riaño Yvonne;
Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers (AAG) Talk given at a conference Challenges and opportunities of conducting feminist participatory action research in studies of intersectionality 12.04.2013 Los Angeles, United States of America Riaño Yvonne;
Global Actions Lecture Series Individual talk Love migration: Imagining Europe(ans), Crossing Multiple Borders, Negotiating Gender Identities 04.04.2013 Los Angeles, United States of America Riaño Yvonne;
International workshop, International Organisation for Migration, “Déqualification femmes migrantes Talk given at a conference Quelle type d’intégration professionnelle pour les femmes migrantes qualifiées en Suisse? 22.06.2012 Genf, Switzerland Riaño Yvonne;
Highly Skilled Migration into the 21st Century International Conference“, University of Middlesex Talk given at a conference Drawing New Boundaries of Participation: Experiences & Strategies of Economic Citizenship among Skilled Migrant Women in Switzerland 24.05.2012 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Riaño Yvonne;
NFP 60 Progress Report Meeting Talk given at a conference (Un)gleichheiten beim Zugang zum Arbeitsmarkt: Intersektionen von Geschlecht und Ethnizität 22.03.2012 Basel, Switzerland Wastl-Walter Doris; Riaño Yvonne; Limacher Katharina; Aschwanden André;
Geographical Colloquium, Institute of Geography, University of Viena Individual talk Breaking barriers: Experiences and strategies of migrant women to gain access to spaces of paid work in the Swiss labour market 07.12.2011 Wien, Austria Riaño Yvonne;
Les fausses bonnes idées pour les femmes. Sortir du capitalisme et du sexisme Talk given at a conference Je pensais que je pourrais avoir une relation plus égalitaire avec un Européen»: Le rôle du genre et de l’imaginaire géographique dans la migration des femmes 18.11.2011 Brussels, Belgium Riaño Yvonne;
International FemCities Conference on “Migrant women in European cities and municipalities. Challenges and potentials from a gender perspective” Talk given at a conference (Un)gleichheiten beim Zugang zum Arbeitsmarkt: Intersektionen von Geschlecht und Ethnizität 23.09.2011 Basel, Switzerland Riaño Yvonne;
Royal Geographical Society (RGS) – Institute of British Geographers (IBG) Annual International Conference, London Talk given at a conference Geographical imaginations and migration theories: a fruitful encounter? 02.09.2011 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Riaño Yvonne;


Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Migrant women and language integration: Challenges and Opportunities 20.06.2014 Bern, Switzerland Riaño Yvonne;
Harnessing knowledge on the migration of highly skilled women: An expert group meeting 04.04.2014 Genf, Switzerland Riaño Yvonne;
Feedbackrunde / Workshop ExpertInnen / Stakeholder NFP60 08.11.2013 Biel, Switzerland Riaño Yvonne; Aschwanden André; Wastl-Walter Doris; Bühler-Conrad Elisabeth;
Frauen aus Lateinamerika: Migrationstrends und Situationen der Beruflichen Integration. Diaspora Veranstaltung 13.09.2013 Aargau, Switzerland Riaño Yvonne;
MINGA Workshop: Resultate Projekt Ungleichheiten im Erwerbsleben aufgrund von Geschlecht und Migrationshintergrund 18.05.2013 Basel, Switzerland Riaño Yvonne; Aschwanden André; Limacher Katharina;
Struggles to reconcile family and career: Different experiences among Swiss- and non-Swiss women and men? 08.03.2013 Basel, Switzerland Riaño Yvonne; Limacher Katharina;
MINGA Workshop Presentation Resultate Projekt Ungleichheiten im Erwerbsleben aufgrund von Geschlecht und Migrationshintergrund 25.08.2012 Bern, Switzerland Riaño Yvonne; Limacher Katharina; Aschwanden André;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Talks/events/exhibitions Frauen aus Lateinamerika: Migrationstrends und Situationen der Beruflichen Integration. Diaspora Ver Western Switzerland 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions International Seminar on The Integration of Highly Skilled Migrant Women into the Labour Market: Cha International 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions Posterpresentation und Feedbackrunde / Workshop ExpertInnen / Stakeholder NFP60 German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland International Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions Struggles to reconcile family and career: Different experiences among Swiss- and non-Swiss women and International German-speaking Switzerland 2013
Talks/events/exhibitions Déqualification femmes migrantes Western Switzerland International 2012
Other activities MINGA Workshop Resultate Projekt Un)gleichheiten beim Zugang zum Arbeitsmarkt: Intersektionen von Ge German-speaking Switzerland 2012
Talks/events/exhibitions (Un)gleichheiten beim Zugang zum Arbeitsmarkt: Intersektionen von Geschlecht und Ethnizität German-speaking Switzerland 2011
Talks/events/exhibitions FemCities Conference on “Migrant women in European cities and municipalities. Challenges and potenti International 2011
Talks/events/exhibitions Kick-off Meeting National Research Programme "Gender Equality" (NRP60) German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2011
Talks/events/exhibitions Migration and the Labour Market from a Gender Perspective International 2011
Media relations: print media, online media Research seeks answers to gender inequalities Swissinfo.ch Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland International German-speaking Switzerland Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland 2011

Abstract

Feminist authors have argued that the key to women’s social citizenship - understood as “full membership in the community” - is equal access to spaces of paid work. Indeed, scholars argue that women require equal access to sources of income and/or material support outside of their family relations if they are to acquire or maintain social and economic autonomy. Accordingly, Switzerland’s Gender Equality Act, which came into effect in 1996, states as one of its main aims "to promote gender equality in all areas of society, particularly in the work place, and to eliminate any form of direct or indirect gender-based discrimination”. In discussions of social citizenship, migration scholars have also highlighted the particular importance of labour market participation for women of foreign origin. Often immigration authorities extend residence permits and grant foreign women formal citizenship on the condition that they are employed. An analysis of achievements towards gender equality shows that, while much progress has been achieved in recent decades in the fields of legislation and education, women and men in the labour market still have unequal access to paid employment, professional positions, division of labour in family households, wages and welfare dependence. Unfortunately, we do not have a complete and differentiated understanding in Switzerland of how and why gender inequalities in the labour market persist. Three areas in particular need to be addressed by researchers if we are to advance our understanding and formulate sound and innovative policies to counteract inequality. First, although women are diverse and experience oppression and inequality in varying situations and in varying degrees of intensity, it is still not clear how gender and ethnicity intersect to generate different situations of inequality. Second, although women have made much progress in recent in years in acquiring professional qualifications, no information is available as to how they succeed over the long-term in using, maintaining and further developing such qualifications. Third, we lack insight into the variety of strategies that women develop to counteract hurdles they face when acquiring and applying new qualifications in the labour market. The overall goal of this research project is to address the former research gaps. Using a comparative perspective, this project will examine three sets of questions regarding both Swiss and non-Swiss individuals: (a) how the intersection of gender and ethnicity/national origin generates unequal access to paid work; (b) the extent to which individuals succeed in applying, maintaining and further developing their professional qualifications in the labour market, (c) the strategies that individuals devise to apply and acquire new professional qualifications. The analysis will combine macro- and micro perspectives to understand gender inequality by focusing on the concepts of gender culture, intersectionality and household arrangements. The quantitative aspects of the study will provide a systematic and representative overview of the variety of situations faced by Swiss and foreign men and women in the labour market. The qualitative aspects will provide insight into the reasons and processes behind gender and ethnic inequalities in the labour market, and into the strategies of individuals to maintain and advance their professional qualifications. An important aim of the qualitative study is to understand how women’s access to the labour market depends on the various arrangements made with their household partners regarding division of housework and paid employment.The quantitative study will be based on the statistical database provided by the 2009 Swiss Labour Force Survey (SLFS), which contains a representative sample of 50 000 individuals. The qualitative empirical study will deal with 30 women of Swiss and non-Swiss origin who have vocational training or university education, who live in a household with children, and who are between 40 and 50 years old. The study will be conducted in the city of Berne and its surroundings. The qualitative methods of data collection include biographical interviews, MINGA workshops and problem-centered interviews. Interviews to document professional biographies will be conducted with both members of couple households. This will allow a relational understanding of how the professional careers of the couple evolve before and after having had children. Overall, 64 interviews and 5 MINGA workshops are planned. The project’s progress will be monitored by a working group composed of two representatives of Gender Equality Offices in Berne and Zürich and two academics. This working group has been set up with two purposes: first, to provide on-going feedback on the project’s evolving results and second, to participate in formulating practical guidelines for policy-makers aiming to counteract gender and ethnic inequality in the Swiss labour market.
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