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The employment market is undergoing far-reaching changes at the present time. The shift from an industrial society to a service society is bringing about new fields of employment and new working conditions. The so-called normal work relationship as the standard form of employment up to now is gradually dissolving and being displaced by flexible (and in part also precarious) employment conditions. This development is moreover also being accompanied by a high level of unemployment.

The organisation, evaluation and distribution of work also affects gender relations (and vice versa). The guiding idea of non-working housewife and the male breadwinner for the family is being replaced by a greater diversity of working and life models (cf. Kurz-Scherf/Lepperhof/Rudolph, 2003). This is shown in particular by the rising participation of women in the employment market and the rising share of women in education and training. The entry by women into new areas of employment and career groups and an increasing orientation by many women to their career development make this clear. More and more men, on the hand, have, for example, the sort of patchwork biographies which used to be typical only for women. At the same time, a small but growing number of men are reducing their working time, at least temporarily, with a view to compatibility of career and family life.

The risks and opportunities associated with this shift in the employment market are moreover affecting women and men. Other factors such as origin and age are also having a crucial determining effect on the employment situation. This is just as true of negative effects such as unemployment and intensifying of labour as for positive effects accompanying the introduction of flexible hours of work and more room for manoeuvre for employees in making decisions.

There are several gender aspects that are often important for the employment market.
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