The impact of the crisis and austerity on low educated working women: the cases of Spain and Portugal

Isabel Tavora, Paula Rodríguez-Modroño

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This article investigates the impact of the recent economic crisis and associated austerity agenda on working low educated women in Portugal and Spain. It draws firstly on a comparative analysis of Eurostat LFS data, recent reform to labor market and care policy; secondly, on qualitative research exploring changes in low educated women’s employment, family arrangements and values.
The findings reveal that in both countries low educated women maintained their labor market attachment but faced increased risks of labor market exclusion, precarity and low pay. However, the weight of women’s household income contributions increased in the context of male unemployment and earnings insecurity, which reinforced women’s work attachment. Moreover, employment appeared critical to women’s identity and associated with egalitarian values. Despite greater protection of equality policies and welfare support for dual-earner families in Portugal, the evidence suggests a negative impact of austerity on work-family reconciliation opportunities for low educated women in both countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)621-636
JournalGender, Work and Organization
Issue number6
Early online date26 Mar 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Female employment
  • low educated women
  • gender equality
  • crisis

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global inequalities


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