University of Oxford/ESRC grant

I am very excited to announce that later this month I’ll be moving to the Institute for New Economic thinking at the University of Oxford. I’ll be a Postdoctoral Research Fellow working on the Oxford Martin Programme on Inequality and Prosperity, looking at inclusive growth. You can find more information about the research programme here: https://www.oxfordmartin.ox.ac.uk/research/programmes/inequality-prosperity.

In addition, I have been awarded a New Investigator Grant from the Economic and Social Research Council. The grant is titled ”Women-Friendly’ State Interventions and Occupational Gender Segregation: Paradise or Paradox?’ (no. ES/S016058/1). I’ll be re-examining the welfare state ‘paradox’ – the idea that more ‘women-friendly’ welfare policies make it harder for women to reach the best jobs – using up-to-date data and novel methods and approaches.

August 2019 – Paper on how smashing the glass ceiling benefits all women

I’m excited to announce that the third paper from my PhD has been accepted for publication in Journal of Social Policy. The paper argues that analyses of gender and welfare states should be broadened to include women’s share of corporate board and executive positions and the policies that help to address the lack of gender diversity in such positions. Bringing more women into the most powerful jobs can lead to more ‘female-friendly’ workplace policies, practices, and cultures (e.g. workplace childcare facilities, sexual-harassment training), which can contribute to addressing some of the gendered ‘social risks’ (e.g. work/family conflicts, violations of body rights) faced by women further down the labour market.

Coverage in The Independent

“Our findings shed doubt on popular depictions of female breadwinners as high-earning, empowered women – instead they are often lower-educated,” Dr Kowalewska told the British Sociological Association’s annual conference in Glasgow. 

I’m excited to say that my research on female breadwinners, co-authored with Dr Agnese Vitali, was featured in The Independent on 1 May! Here is a link to the full article: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/household-earnings-sole-women-men-gender-us-west-europe-salary-a8894426.html

You can find out more about this research here: https://helenkowalewska.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/BSA-Presentation.pdf

We plan on submitting the paper for journal publication in the next month or two, so watch this space…

April 2019 – BSA conference

On 25 April I presented a paper that I co-authored with Dr Agnese Vitali (University of Trento) at the annual British Sociological Conference at Glasgow Caledonian University. The paper is titled Breadwinning or on the Breadline? Female Breadwinners’ Economic Characteristics across 20 Welfare States. We critique existing research on work/family arrangements and welfare states for overlooking an increasingly prevalent arrangement across couples, which is that of the female-breadwinner family model. We show that, contrary to popular depictions of female breadwinners as empowered, high-earning women, many are ‘on the breadline’, in that they are among the poorest of all households. What’s more, women who are breadwinners earn less as individuals, work fewer hours, and are more likely to work in lower-paying occupations and less likely to be managers/professionals than male breadwinners. See the press release from the BSA and my slides on the ‘Publications’ tab for more details.

March 2019 – Nordic Welfare Research Conference

On 14-15 March I attended the Nordic Welfare Research Conference at the University of Helsinki and presented my latest research. The research examines how family and labour-market policies shape women’s access to corporate board and executive positions across 24 OECD countries via a fuzzy-set analysis.

It was a strange experience presenting research on the lack of women in the most powerful positions while surrounded by paintings of white old men on the walls. Funny when you see comments like those claiming white men are becoming an ‘endangered species’.

I plan to continue developing the paper and will be presenting again at the 2019 European Sociological Conference in Manchester (20-23 August).

Conference on Female Breadwinning, London

On 12-13 December 2018, I attended the Female-Breadwinner Families in Europe workshop organised by Dr Agnese Vitali. The day brought together researchers and policy influencers interested in the rise in female breadwinning. A key lesson from the presentations is that we need to distinguish between ‘pure’ female breadwinner families, in which the woman is the only earner while the man is unemployed, and women-as-main-earner families, in which the woman out-earns the man, but both are employed. These two family-types typically differ in terms of education, income, and wellbeing – while the former is associated with male unemployment and higher poverty risks, the latter is associated with choice and higher earnings. Click here
to find out more about the paper on female breadwinning that I’m co-authoring with Dr Vitali, which I’ll also be presenting at the 2019 British Sociological Association Conference in Glasgow.