The CPC Seminar Series takes place between October and June, all seminars are free to attend and no registration is required. If you would like to present please contact

Women's life courses and later life wellbeing in Europe

10th June 2015 3pm, University of Southampton 58/1039

Katja Mohring, University of Bremen

A joint CPC, CRA and CLC seminar: Women's life courses have undergone major changes from the post-war decades until today. They have been and are still characterised by the interplay and tension between employment and family. However, the extent to which the welfare state supports the balancing of both spheres and the recognition of typical female careers in its social security institutions, such as the pension system, varies between countries. Accordingly, previous research has demonstrated large cross-national variation in females' labour market participation as well as in their wellbeing in later life. This makes women's life courses an interesting source to study the manifold and complex linkages between welfare state, social change, family context, and individual characteristics in determining the relationship of mid-life developments and later life outcomes. In my talk I will present results from different studies on women's life courses and later life wellbeing in Europe. I will firstly give an overview of gender differences in career patterns in European welfare states. Then I will turn to the early career phase of young women (age 18-29 years). Here, I will present results from a study examining the 'work vs. family orientation' in young women's career pathways focussing on family background and the welfare state as central determinants. Next, I will present results on the relationship of mid-life developments (employment and family biography) on later life objective and subjective wellbeing. I will close the talk with a short outlook on a planned project on women's late careers. The theoretical framework underlying all studies combines factors related to the individual, the family, and the welfare state in a multilevel perspective on the relationship of women's life courses and later life wellbeing in European societies. All studies make use of data on life histories of women born between 1920 and 1959 in 14 European countries from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe, wave 3 (SHARELIFE). The applied methods include sequence analysis and multilevel regression.