A brief comparison of the female labour force participation rates in France and Great Britain shows that their level and evolution are very similar. Nevertheless, this similarity conceals substantial differences between the two countries in the structure of female employment and its distribution between full-time and part-time work. Almost one half of working women in Great Britain work part-time compared with one fifth of French working women. This widespread part-time work in Great Britain is primarily attributable to young married people, especially those who have dependent children (Leicester, 1982). Two surveys initiated at about the same time (1980–81) in Great Britain and in France, and covering similar samples (women with dependent children), made it possible to compare the employment situations of mothers of families in the two countries, specifically the socio-demographic characteristics of their family and their economic situation. The results of these two surveys lead us to conclude that the considerable differences in the labour force participation patterns of women in the two countries are due mainly to differences in social and economic policies.
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- Women and Part-time Work: France and Great Britain Compared
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