Policy Press

The gender dimension of social change

The contribution of dynamic research to the study of women's life courses

Edited by Elisabetta Ruspini and Angela Dale


May 29, 2002

Page count

312 pages




234 x 156 mm


Policy Press
The gender dimension of social change

The transformations that are now taking place in women's lives are of great interest to social scientists and policy makers, yet we know very little about the impact of this social change over time. This new study uses longitudinal data - information gathered over a considerable period of time - to provide new insights into the changing dynamics of lives of women today. In particular, it explores the potential of longitudinal or life course analysis as a powerful tool for appreciating the gender dimension of social life.

The contributors view the data from a policy perspective and use comparative analysis from Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Japan to expand our understanding of women's life courses in relation to both men and women and the system of inequality.

"With all the data and insight that is crammed into this surprisingly slim volume, I am sure it will become a staple feature on many a student social scientists' reading list for years to come." SRA News

"... a testament to how a dynamic approach can aid researchers in unravelling the complex interactions between socio-economic factors and gendered outcomes across historical time and individual lives." European Sociological Review

"... an impressive book that brings gender into a central position within longitudinal studies. The methodologically innovative collection of essays is essential reading for the interpretation of current trends in a gender perspective and an invitation to use longitudinal research as a basis for a better understanding of social change." Enzo Mingione, Faculty of Sociology, University of Milano-Bicocca

Elisabetta Ruspini has a PhD in Sociology and Social Research and is a Lecturer in Social Research at the University of Milano-Bicocca (Milan, Italy). She has extensive research experience in gender issues, lone motherhood, social and family policies, the gender dimension of poverty, and the relationship between poverty and health for women.

Angela Dale is Professor of Quantitative Social Research at the University of Manchester and Director of the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research.

Contents: Part I: Introduction; Introduction ~ Elisabetta Ruspini and Angela Dale; Women and social change ~ Elisabetta Ruspini; Survey designs for longitudinal research ~ Elisabetta Ruspini; Part II: The issues; The role of education on postponement of maternity in Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden ~ Siv Gustafsson, Eiko Kenjoh and C├ęcile Wetzels; The financial consequences of relationship dissolution for women in Western Europe ~ Caroline Dewilde; Women's incomes over a snythetic lifetime ~ Heather Joshi and Hugh Davies; Fixed-term contracts and unemployment at the beginning of the employment career in Germany: does gender matter? ~ Karin Kurz; Women and self-employment: the case of television production workers in Britain ~ Shirley Dex and Colin Smith; Gender wage differentials in Britain and Japan ~ Yayoi Sugihashi and Angela Dale; Longitudinal analysis and the constitution of the concept of gender ~ Jane Elliott; Part III: Data sources; Concluding comments ~ Elisabetta Ruspini and Angela Dale; Appendix: Description and characteristics of longitudinal data sets used in the book ~ Elisabetta Ruspini.