'Europe's social divisions - gender and generational

Download Report

Transcript 'Europe's social divisions - gender and generational

Europe's social divisions –
gender and generational inequality
in the service-based economy
Patrick Diamond, Equality &
Human Rights Commission
Debates about economic inequality in
Europe confuse three separate questions:
• Income poverty
• Income mobility
• Income inequality
Transfixed by threat of globalisation. Often
blind to new gender and generational
Today two major socio-economic challenges
are transforming Europe:
• Demographic - new gender relationships;
women's increased aspiration for personal
independence; the ageing workforce;
rising migration
• Post-industrial - knowledge-based
economy within a framework of increased
economic internationalisation &
Is it all about globalisation?
• Yes - some loss of low skilled jobs, some
delocalisation, some outsourcing
• No - internally-driven pressures, new
inequities run within as much as between
Emergence of new social risks - Europe is illequipped to respond due to outdated welfare &
social model that does not address:
Challenge of reconciling work & care
Obsolescence of professional skills
Relationship breakdown & family instability
Accentuation of dependency
Marginalisation & actual exclusion
Risk of social polarisation: increasing poverty &
income inequality; declining social mobility; higher
levels of child poverty:
• Growth of single parents families (4.4% of all EU households) - a
third at risk of poverty: 18 million of the EU's 94 million children at
risk of poverty
• Youth unemployment double general unemployment (over 20% in
France, Italy, Spain)
• Cities attracting 'creative class' prosper - but old industrial towns
• Rising dependency - among 55-64 yr olds 40% of men & 60% of
women have dropped out of the labour market
• Job growth concentrated in knowledge-intensive sectors: EU15 - 6%
overall but 24% in KBE: two-thirds of new jobs high-skilled
Social polarisation creates fear of
new cultural divisions:
• Asylum-seekers and migrants blamed for
abusing welfare - yet discrimination &
educational under-achievement rife
• Alienated traditional white working-class
• Impact of pervasive commercialisation,
including on childhood
• Hedonic treadmill of consumption hits
poorest - obesity, alcoholism, mental
In summary, need new forms of redistribution - of
risk as well as income:
• Promote dynamic equality to combat child poverty: tackle social
inheritance by shifting resources from university education to early
years and primary education
• Re-write contract between generations: work-life policies, paternal
leave incentives, tax deductions, employability; but also greater
focus on over 80s to ensure more equitable 'end of life'
• Tackle 'insider/outsider' cleavages: status quo benefit systems
penalise women, young people, minorities e.g. pensions, atypical
• Make taxes fairer: in global economy where productivity gains
advantage capital and penalise labour, fiscal burden falls
disproportionately on lowest paid
• Address mismatch between work &
welfare: aim - gender equal dual earning
societies: realise women's contribution to
productivity & social cohesion
• Fairer distribution of burdens between
• New approaches to integration: social &
economic inclusion