The Gender Dimension of Social Change: The Contribution of Dynamic Research to the Study of Women's Life Courses

The Gender Dimension of Social Change: The Contribution of Dynamic Research to the Study of Women's Life Courses

The Gender Dimension of Social Change: The Contribution of Dynamic Research to the Study of Women's Life Courses

The Gender Dimension of Social Change: The Contribution of Dynamic Research to the Study of Women's Life Courses

Synopsis

The transformations that are now taking place in women's lives are of great interest to social scientists and policy makers, yet we know very little about the impact of this social change over time. This new study uses longitudinal data - information gathered over a considerable period of time - to provide new insights into the changing dynamics of lives of women today. In particular, it explores the potential of longitudinal or life course analysis as a powerful tool for appreciating the gender dimension of social life.The contributors view the data from a policy perspective and use comparative analysis from Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Japan to expand our understanding of women's life courses in relation to both men and women and the system of inequality.

Excerpt

This volume was developed from the Fifth International Conference on Logic and Methodology: Social Science Methodology in the New Millennium, Cologne, 3-6 October 2000, at which a session was organised by Elisabetta Ruspini ‘Engendering longitudinal data analysis: the contribution of dynamic research to the study of women’s life courses’. the session intended to explore the potential of longitudinal research as a powerful tool for appreciating the gender dimension of social life. the papers presented at the conference all used a longitudinal, gender-sensitive and comparative research approach; moreover, they all focused on issues where gender differences are central: employment, family changes, motherhood, poverty, social exclusion, income. Finally, they used a number of different longitudinal data sources: from repeated cross-sectional surveys to household panel studies, from cohort studies to retrospective interviews.

The topic of how to engender longitudinal analysis is of much interest and still largely unexplored: thus the editors collected the papers together in one volume, aimed at making explicit the importance of a longitudinal perspective in understanding gender differences and their evolution over time.

The gender dimension of social change is an innovative book – written for social scientists interested in the systematic empirical investigation of social change – which examines gender transformations from a comparative, international perspective and introduces the reader to dynamic research, demonstrating its contribution to the analysis of women’s and men’s life courses and public policy formulation. Another aim of the book is to provide new evidence for those interested in gender differences and in the gender dimension of social life, providing also a transparent account of the gender dimension of social inequality. Finally, the book is an invitation for those who wish to carry out their own research to launch their own longitudinal, gender-sensitive research project. While the level of statistical complexity varies between chapters, all authors have included a methods section aimed at giving a clear account of why they adopted a particular method, of its strengths and limitations, of the data requirements and of the statistical assumptions. in order to encourage the use of longitudinal data, we believe there is a strong need to exchange information between researchers and scientists, those who already perform longitudinal research, those who are approaching it, or those who would like to perform it but do not yet know how.

The volume opens with two chapters by Elisabetta Ruspini that set the . . .

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