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Ex aequo

versão impressa ISSN 0874-5560


BOULD, Sally  e  GAVRAY, Claire. Women’s work: the Measurement and the Meaning. Ex aequo [online]. 2008, n.18, pp.57-83. ISSN 0874-5560.

Understanding the meaning of a woman’s economic activity requires an in depth understanding of the labour force concept and how it has been applied to women. This paper will examine in detail some of the issues and problems with the data available and its usage as well as the problem of cross national comparability. These issues will be explored by a close examination of the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) recommendations and definitions and yearly statistics ( The first part of the paper will focus on the development of the labour force concept and a history of how women’s labour force participation has changed in the last 30 years using the examples of Bangladesh and Thailand. A different historical picture is found in the four European countries examined: Portugal, Spain, Belgium and France. The second part of the paper will examine factors which need to be taken into account in forming a broader understanding of women’s work in these European countries. Age, education, working hours, wages, and motherhood are examined. In view of this analysis the paper will critique the European Union goal of 60% of women working in EU countries by 2010.

Palavras-chave : women’s work; employment; labour force participation; EU employment goals.

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