Update September 2020

This month I returned to work following the birth of my first child six months ago. It is an exciting but busy time trying to balance my career and childcare (and everything else amid a pandemic). I feel the experience will only make me a better researcher given my areas of interest and how productive I am forced to be when I do get the chance to carry out some research and write. During my maternity leave, I had a paper, co-authored with Agnese Vitali, accepted for publication in the Journal of European Social Policy. Through descriptive and regression analyses of Luxembourg Income Study microdata covering 20 industrialised countries, we find that female-breadwinner couples are economically disadvantaged compared with all other couple-types - including their male-breadwinner counterparts - across all welfare regimes. The paper will be available online soon. In the meantime, you can check out our working paper version: http://www.lisdatacenter.org/wps/liswps/769.pdf.

In addition, I have just resubmitted a paper to another journal following minor revisions. The paper is part of my ESRC New Investigator Grant on the ‘welfare-state paradox’: work-family policies that bring women into the workforce also undermine women’s access to top-level positions. The article is a fuzzy-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis of the associations between ‘women-friendly’ state interventions and women’s share of board and executive positions across 22 industrialised countries. Overall, the analysis finds limited evidence in support of a welfare-state paradox. Moreover, widespread childcare services are associated with gender-diverse boards.

I am continuing to work on my ESRC New Investigator Grant, looking at patterns of gender segregation in employment across different countries. I am also developing additional papers with colleagues on female breadwinners.

Helen Kowalewska
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Oxford with interests in comparative social policy, gender and employment.