THE STRUCTURE OF EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT FROM THE GENDER VIEW POINT

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Скачать бесплатно! Научная работа на тему THE STRUCTURE OF EMPLOYMENT AND UNEMPLOYMENT FROM THE GENDER VIEW POINT. Аудитория: ученые, педагоги, деятели науки, работники образования, студенты (18-50). Minsk, Belarus. Research paper. Agreement.

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Опубликовано в библиотеке: 2014-05-14
Источник: http://library.by


The transitional period in the national economy of the Republic of Belarus is characterised by the aggravation of traditional problems relating to a woman's status. This is shown in the gender specifics of the employment and unemployment structures, in particular, in raising women's share in the non- production branches with lower payment; the prevalence of a so-called "intellectual unemployment", primarily amongst women; a longer, compared with men, unemployment period; more limited, compared with men, options (conditioned by social reasons) of making a free choice in life. All this reflects the process of the poverty feminisation.

Branch and Professional Employment Structure

In the end of 1996 there were 2.1 mln women engaged in the national economy of Belarus, which amounts to 51.3 % of the total workers, employees and farmers. Out of this number, 31.1 % of women were involved in material production and 20.2 % - in the non-production branches.

The comparison of data for 1990 and 1996 gives an idea of the main trends in changing the male and female employment structures. The analysis of the employment dynamics proves that, compared with men, the share of women in the branches of material production is decreasing, and in the non- production branches is going up.

Whereas the male employment in the branches of material production has remained almost steady, with women it has dropped from 36.1 % to 31.1 %. On the whole, the relative number of men in the non- production sphere has remained about the same, although branch-wise one can see significant and contradictory changes. The number of men in the education sphere has decreased twofold, and in housing and communal services, as well as other types of consumer services - 1.1 times.

Along with the tendency towards the decrease in the female employment associated with the material production branches, there is a similarly steady tendency towards the increase of the female employment in the non-production branches: in health care and social support, education, housing and communal services, crediting and insurance it went up one time and a half. In management and social associations, it has also increased one time and a half, although the branch, as a whole, which is being expanded largely by men, should be given credit. The relative number of men, employed in management and social associations, went up 3.5 times. The relative number of women in the field of science and science-related services went down twofold, whereas the number of men is about the same.

The changes in the male and female employment structures reflect the general trends in the economy: the decrease in employment in the industry, agriculture, construction, science and science- related services along with the increase in employment in the non-production branches. The changes in the male and female employment structures, to a significantly greater extent, reflect the evolution of the process known as the poverty feminisation. The increase in the women's share in the non-production branches, in particular, in the education area is a rather accurate index of the decline in its social prestige and, accordingly, in payment. In these branches, from two thirds to three fourths employees are below the official poverty line, which is 60 % of the average monthly minimum consumer budget. Also strengthening the poverty feminisation process is the increase in the share of women in the material production spheres with unsatisfactory conditions of work and in the non- production branches with low payment registered on the basis of statistical data.

Women are more educated than men are - the comparison of the educational level of both men and women in the national economy is to the credit of the latter. For instance, the number of women with higher education tops men 1.4 times; and with technical secondary education - 1.9 times. Amongst people with a lower educational level, men prevail (they exceed the number of women 1.2 times). However, it is in the non-production spheres with lower payment that the share of women with higher education is especially high - it 2-3 times exceeds the share of men with the same education. The comparison of the employees' professional structures proves that particularly big among women is the number of accountants, economists, medical workers, educators - the most poorly paid professional groups. For example, within the professional group of accountants, the share of women tops that of men 30 times; medical personnel - 10 times; teachers - 5 times; arts and culture specialists - 3 times.

Therefore, possessing a much higher educational level, women realise it within the most poorly paid professional groups, where their share is constantly increasing.

The Unemployment Structure in the Economy of Belarus

In the end of 1996 182,500 people were registered as unemployed, which constituted 3.8 % of the work force. A so-called "intellectual unemployment", complicating particularly the life of women, is a typical feature of the Belarusian labour market. The share of the unemployed with higher and secondary technical education made up:

among men
among women

In 1993
30,0 %
43,7 %

In 1994
23,6 %
37,5 %

In 1995
21,7 %
33,7 %

In 1996
21,5 %
31,6 %


If we compare the data for 1996 and 1993, a steady tendency towards the increase in the duration of unemployment and in the number of those unemployed over a long period of time comes out: among men - 7 times and among women - 3.5 times.

According to the results of the sociological monitoring "Settlement of employment in the conditions of the forming labour market" (1997), the most explicit tendency, caused by the increase in the unemployment duration, is strengthening the psychological discomfort with the unemployed (to a larger extent, with women) and, eventually, a drastic decrease in activity associated with a search for possibilities of employment. It was found out that along with the growth in the unemployment duration, a passive (formal) activity aimed at a search of a job through employment offices is going up with women, whereas an active (informal) search by way of offering services to different companies is going down 1.5 times. With men, activity concerning visiting employment offices is significant, however, it remains about the same. Unlike the situation with women, offering services to different companies is increasing almost twofold. At the same time, it has been revealed that one forth of men and women, registered as unemployed over a long period of time, realistically, do not have a chance of getting jobs that are vitally important to them.

The problem is that, on the one hand, a forming market is excluding from the production sphere women with higher and secondary technical education (about one half of all excluded women), capable of working, primarily experts in different areas. On the other hand, the market is ready to reaccept them, however, in a different capacity with a significant decrease in their social-professional status. Under these conditions the main goal of the state policy is to attract the social mechanisms of women's penetration into the labour market by way of professional training and retraining, development of entrepreneurial activity, and the introduction of flexible types of work and working schedule.

The mechanism of professional training and retraining is based on female (especially when we talk about unemployed) reorientation towards new criteria of evaluation of their occupations: firstly, a profession should be highly paid; secondly, it should be prestigious on the labour market. One of the drawbacks of this social mechanism is that women with higher and secondary education are compelled to acquire professions for which a very high educational level is not required. For instance, the following were the preferable occupations for which retraining was conducted in 1997: accountant (44.1 %), secretary (34.0 %) and electric sewing machine operator (20.4 %). Only 1.5 % of all retrainees were learning other things. It is not a re-qualification (with the preservation of higher education and within its framework), but rather the acquiring of a totally new, by nature, speciality, ordinarily not requiring higher and sometimes even technical secondary education.

According to the results of the sociological monitoring in 1997, two thirds of women leaning new skills used to be engineers and technical workers, scientists or representatives of the arts field. Along with other factors, the conversion processes in the economy are evidently displayed in such a way.

The monitoring results prove that in the new situation women have to accept the market criterion of a job assessment - the prospects for this job on the labour market - and develop a relevant strategy of conduct. As an example, one forth of women testifies that the new profession fully corresponds to their desires and inclinations; two thirds speak about the higher or lower level of correspondence; and one- tenth finds difficulty in replying. Only 3 % of women feel uncomfortable and acknowledge that new jobs are in discord with their desires and inclinations.

A forming within the national economy private sector creates demand for employers and businessmen, connecting their future careers with the entrepreneurial activity.

In compliance with the laws on ownership, employment of the population, and entrepreneurial activity, both men and women can become entrepreneurs on the equal basis. However, entrepreneurial activity is a theoretical rather than practical problem for most women. In fact, according to the results of the sociological monitoring in 1997, 9.1 % of men started their business and undertook commercial activity, as opposed to just 2.7 % of women; 29.9 % of men and 18.4 % of women received a second job. Still, the number of women willing to undertake commercial activity tops ten times the number of doing it in reality. With men, the number of volunteers exceeds the number of businessmen five times. This is a gap between the real aspirations relating to the entrepreneurial activity as an alternative to unemployment, and the current possibilities, different for men and women.

Also, we should bear in mind that only one third of the respondents (irrespective of gender) have savings. The rest do not have them and live from pay day to pay day. Only have of people having resources would take chances and invest the money into their own businesses. One third of the respondents are brought to a halt by the lack of connections in commerce, one third - by the absence of appropriate connections, one fifth - concerns associated with the instability in the country, and the same number - registration formalities and ignorance about the privatisation mechanisms. Therefore, financial and social-psychological prerequisites for the active entrepreneurial activity in the country have not formed yet, both with men and women, although the situation seems even more complicated for women.

As regards the mechanism for flexible types of work and working schedule, the objective conditions of its operation in the national economy have not been established yet, however subjective prerequisites are rather explicit. In fact, up to one half of the employed women would opt for part-time jobs; one third - for work under contracts and subcontracts; one third - for an incomplete working week; and one fifth - for temporary seasonal work and services. Men normally do not come out with demand in such types of work.

The lack of objective prerequisites for the operation of the mechanism for flexible types of work and working schedule, caused by the underdevelopment of services in the national economy, leads to the situation when two thirds of retrainees, irrespective of age and social status, are not capable of the realistic assessment of their capabilities on the labour market. Only 14 % anticipate finding a job right after receiving education, 20 % - within 1-3 months, 7 % - in the course of six months, and 53 % do not have a clear picture yet.

It turns out that two thirds of the most essential mechanism of retraining are idling. These are irrational costs, fraught with financial and social expenses, as well as return of the part of respondents for retraining if their jobs are not in demand. However, a growth in the non-production sector, associated with the development of flexible types of work and working schedule, is not a social solution to the problem. The matter is that flexible types of work and working schedule are almost inevitably accompanied by impaired social guarantees and accessibility of social support, the lowering of salaries and deterioration of conditions of work..

The government of the Republic of Belarus approved the National Plan of Actions for the Improvement of Women's Position. The national programme Women of the Republic of Belarus (1996), which has been developed for the period up to the year 2000, defines and specifies the directions of the National Plan.

Women's active involvement in the national economy and their support for the main economic reforms are an indispensable prerequisite for the progress of reforms and the provision of a living standard as a whole. Auxiliary mechanisms provided by NGOs, can become an additional means of mobilisation of female capabilities aimed at productive activity in the spheres of material and cultural production. Under the new conditions the substantiation and pursuit of social policies with regard to women ceases to be a monopoly of the state. Broad public movements, foundations, associations, expressing the interests of different social groups and providing for women's participation in the implementation of social programmes in the interests of a steady economic development should partake in the elaboration of the above policies.

1 Statistics Yearbook of the Republic of Belarus, Minsk, 1997.

2 Sokolova, Gendernye problemy v economike Belarusi, in Zhenshchiny Belarusi v zerkale epokhi, 1997. The UNDP National Report, Minsk, 1997.

3 Economicheskoye povedeniye bezrabotnykh v contexte dlitel'nosti bezrabotitsy, edited by G. Sokolova, Minsk, 1997.

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© Galina Sokolova, Ph. D. in Sociology, Professor The Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Belarus () Источник: http://library.by

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