FORBA's thematic research area on 'Work, Gender and Politics' deals with the study and analysis of the contractual relations and legal regulations in place for the different forms of work and social security. These different forms of regulation are vital in determining the access different social groups have to the labour market as well as to income, social services, education and social rights. Concrete regulatory frameworks in place in a country for paid and unpaid labour depend on different forms of the organisation and articulation of social interests and the resolution of political and social conflicts.

Areas of analysis are not limited to work in the private economy and in public services but also include unpaid work carried out in the family and household. This entails a focus not only on the formation of social classes and strata but also on gender relations.

The forms of regulation in place for (paid) labour, the labour market, social security and industrial relations have come under extreme pressure to adapt. This has had far-reaching consequences for employment conditions, which in many sectors can be described as 'precarisation'. It has also had a major impact not only on the issues of social conflict and forms of interest representation by trade unions but also on individuals, who in their daily lives are increasingly faced with a dismantling of traditional securities, the transformation of social hierarchies and changing gender relations.

Research in this area is undertaken both at a national level and in a series of European research projects with a comparative international approach. It also attempts to further develop gender sensitive methods for labour research.

Research topics

FORBA research in the area of 'Work, Gender and Politics' focuses on the following issues:

  • forms of employment and contractual relationships
  • labour-market regulation and labour-market structures
  • working-time policy
  • industrial relations
  • social security of (paid) labour
  • (active) labour-market policy
  • gender-specific structuring of (paid) work and the different positions of men and women in working life
  • relationship between paid and unpaid household and care work and its consequences on the chances of participation, rights and career opportunities of individuals
  • institutional regulation of employment biographies and life-course transitions and their (gender-specific) consequences for individuals
  • restructuring of public services (sectoral changes affecting work, changes in social security systems of paid labour)

Current projects

Completed projects