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The century of the gender revolution: empirical essays

Skorge, Øyvind Søraas (2016) The century of the gender revolution: empirical essays. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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The inclusion of women in the public sphere delineates the last century from the previous ones. This thesis investigates three key aspects of the gender revolution. At the turn from the 18th to the 19th century, countries began to grant women equal voting rights to men. Equality in the act of voting, however, failed to ensue. To address this conundrum, the first essay argues that elites and organizations had greater incentives to mobilize women to vote under a proportional representation (pr) than a plurality electoral system. I test the argument empirically by studying a reform which required half of the about 600 Norwegian municipalities to replace plurality with pr before the 1919 election. The difference-in-difference design reveals the reform increased women’s share of the votes cast by about ten percentage points, thus notably reducing gender inequities in political participation. Women’s inclusion in voting did, however, not imply women’s inclusion in employment, education, and political offices. Indeed, after World War II, the social partners and political parties favored policies aimed at male-breadwinner families. The second essay studies the puzzle of why unions, employers, and parties nonetheless, from the 1970s and onwards, went from opposing to proposing work-family policy reforms, such as daycare services and paid parental leave. My argument is that, as women have become an increasingly important part of the membership base for unions and source of high-skilled labour for employers, the social partners have come to push for the expansion of work-family policies. Yet, centralised corporatist institutions, which give policy influence, are needed for unions and employers to succeed with their policy demands. Both a time-series crossnational quantitative analysis and an in-depth case study of Norway and shadow case studies of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Sweden support the argument. By the new millennium, women made up half of the labor force but only one-third of managers, indicating that significant gender inequities remain. The third essay therefore examines whether the introduction of full-time daycare services increase mothers’ possibility and willingness to invest a professional career. Empirically, the essay exploits a staggered, large-scale expansion of daycare centres across Norwegian municipalities in the 2000s. Analysing registry data on the whole Norwegian population, the instrumental variable estimates indicate that the availability of daycare services made women more likely to enter into occupations requiring longer hours and leadership positions. In sum, the thesis demonstrates that reforms of political and public policy institutions can impact both the pace and the direction of theongoing gender revolution.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2016 Øyvind Søraas Skorge
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JC Political theory
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Soskice, David and Hopkin, Jonathan

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