Local Political Level as Influencing Factor on Behaviour of Women with Caring Responsibilities on Labour Market
In order to ensure the sustainability of the European social model it is important that an increasingly larger part of the working-age population, especially women with caring responsibilities, participated in the labour market and that they did so for a longer period than before.
The article is based on the data from the project „Impact of local welfare systems on female labour force participation” (FLOWS) that was sponsored within the 7th framework programme of the European Union. The project coordinator is Aalborg University in Denmark. FLOWS is a study project of the seventh framework programme for the development of scientific studies and technologies, and is being carried out in 2011–2014, in 11 EU cities. Bologna (Italy), Brno (Czech Republic), Dublin (Ireland), Hamburg (Germany), Jyväskylä (Finland), Leeds (Great Britain), Nantes (France), Szekesfehervar (Hungary), Tartu (Estonia), Terrassa (Spain), and Aalborg (Denmark) participate in the study. On the basis of the analyses carried out in the FLOWS project framework up to now, we can say that the situation in Tartu does not differ too much from other local governments. However, we can confirm that through child care facilities and planning and regulating of caring after elderly people, the local level has a great impact on the behaviour of women on the labour market. The local level cannot apply political changes on their own: its task lies first of all in finding the best solution to the given situation by using the resources available. As the analysis has shown, the task of coordinating lifelong learning systems was left to the state in almost all cities.
Taking into consideration that welfare services and investments in people have the most significant influence on the behaviour of women on the labour market, the task of supporting their participation in the labour market should be solved with a joint package of political measures. According to the reports that were compiled by the study groups, support of return, entry or staying of women in the labour market is not considered a priority at the local or at the state level.
Taking into account the objectives of Europe 2020, we need to strive to widen the participation possibilities for all demographic groups on the labour market. In order to enable women to more actively participate in the labour market, we need to achieve a stronger horizontal and cross-sector governance and cooperation, mutually supportive measures for child care and care for the elderly, as well as lifelong learning programmes.