Greater numbers of Irish women entered the workplace after the legalisation of divorce in 1996, new research has found.
Think tank the Economic Social and Research Institute examined the entry of Irish women into the workplace between 1994 and 2001.
Ireland was the last country in Europe to introduce a divorce law. The researchers believe the women were looking financial for ‘self insurance’ through work in case their marriages broke down. Non-religious women were more likely to seek work if than their religious neighbours.
Analyst Claire Keane said:
“… an increased (perceived) risk of marital breakdown (associated with divorce legalisation) led to an increase in female labour supply….We find that women with a higher risk of marital breakdown (nonreligious women) increased their participation rates by around 5 percentage points more than women at a lower risk (religious women). The effect is driven, not by an increase in hours worked by women already in employment, but rather an increase in participation in the labour market for women who were not previously working.”
“[The findings] suggest that the 1996 divorce legislation has a role to play in explaining at least part of the rise in female participation that occurred over recent decades in Ireland.”
The research is based on data from the Living in Ireland survey, the local implementation of an EU-wide social research project.