Date of Award

12-2012

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Chair

Robert Pauly

Committee Chair Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 2

Marie Leonard

Committee Member 2 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Committee Member 3

Tom Lansford

Committee Member 3 Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

Despite significant gains of women living in advanced democracies over the last several decades, sex inequality in the market still exists. Women still earn less, work less, and are less likely to be found in top leadership positions in the market, especially mothers, but disparity between men and women in terms of these outcomes varies among many countries. This study explores the relationship between government policies and the market outcomes of women in the United States and other European nations to determine if the different policies explain the variances, and consequently the necessity of state intervention for achieving gender equality. The findings suggest state intervention is necessary to achieve sex equality and therefore does explain in part different market outcomes of women in the different countries in this study. However, specific policy provisions and important contextual factors can enhance or mitigate the degree to which government policies can affect the market outcomes of women. The analysis of government policies also demonstrates the weakness of the states' ability to influence change in the workplace and the broader cultural gender ideology and thus explains why progress has been so slow even in countries with extensive government intervention.

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