A gendered comparison of extended working life policies across seven countries
Venue: Old Government Buildings, Lecture Theatre 3
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This presentation draws on findings from a recent book published by researchers in COST Action IS1409, Gender and Health Implications of Extended Working Life in Western Countries, a network of researchers from 34 countries focusing on the issue of extended working life (Ní Léime et al, 2017). The Extended Working Life (EWL) policy agenda has been strongly promoted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the European Union (EU) in response to population ageing and anticipated increased pension costs (OECD, 2006, 2013). The EWL policies that have been introduced have been critiqued on the basis that most are simplistic one-size-fits all measures that do not take into account the typically differentiated work-life trajectories of men and women, of those in precarious and secure jobs and of those in physically-demanding and sedentary employment.
The presentation adopts a gendered political economy of ageing approach to policy analysis. It contextualises and compares EWL policies in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Sweden, the UK and the US, from a gender perspective. These policies include increasing state pension age, requiring increased contributions to qualify for contributory state pensions, introducing tax incentives for private pensions, and workplace measures encouraging flexible working for older workers. They typically also include removing incentives to early retirement and introducing barriers to exits from employment for health reasons. Findings from a recent study of EWL in Ireland and the US will also be drawn upon to discuss the attitudes of workers in various occupations to EWL policy.
Commonalities and differences across the countries will be teased out and the implications for future policy with a focus on gender, health and precarity will be discussed. Some examples of promising practice in terms of policies for older workers will be presented.
Speaker: Dr. Áine Ní Léime is Chair of COST Action IS1409, Gender, Health and Extended Working Life in Western Countries a research network with over 100 researchers from 34 countries. She is a Senior Researcher at the Irish Centre for Social Gerontology at NUI Galway. She has recently completed a Marie Sklodowska Curie International Outgoing Research fellowship, spending two years at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio and one year at the National University of Ireland Galway. She conducted a cross-national, qualitative study entitled Gender, Older Workers and the Lifecourse (GENDOWL). She is currently the Principal Investigator for the Irish portion of the H2020 NORFACE-funded project on Dynamics of Accumulated Inequalities for Seniors in Employment (DAISIE) a cross-national study involving researchers from five European countries. Her recent publications are in the area of ageing policy, gender, older workers, pensions and the lifecourse.