Dataset: Working Conditions and Health of Women in Denmark, 1976-1977


The survey examines the health, family life and working con- ditions of workers in 7 branches of trade: the electronics industry, the tobacco industry, the soap industry, the textile industry, the clothing industry, the boot and shoe industry and supermarkets. The central theme is the typically female jobs, i.e. monotonous, sedentary piece work. A certain correlation is supposed to exist between this kind of work and stress symptoms and symptoms of the locomotor organs. #The incentive was the survey on working environment which was carried out by the Danish National Institute of Social Research (Socialforskningsinstituttet) and which was published as Arbejdsmiljøgruppens rapport nr. 2 (Report No. 2 by the Working Environment Group) in 1974. The picture given in this survey of women's working conditions indicated that women had a particular- ly large number of symptoms of ill-health (especially stress symptoms), a heavy consumption of medicine and that their degree of job satisfaction was markedly lower than the men's job satisfaction. #The purpose of the present survey is a closer examination of women's working conditions in order to compare the results with the results of the survey carried out by the Danish National Institute of Social Research and in order to find the correlations between symptoms of ill-health and lack of job satisfaction on the one hand and working environment and family conditions on the other. #The survey is based on branch of trade distributions, not on trade union distributions. In some cases there is a quite high degree of similarity between branch of trade affiliation and trade union affiliation, e.g. the clothing industry, the textile industry, the tobacco industry and the footwear industry; in other cases the workers within a certain branch of trade are organized in many unions, e.g. the metal industry, or the workers of one union are employed in different branches of trade, e.g the Union of Semi-Skilled Workers in Denmark (SiD) and the Federation of Female Workers (Kvindeligt Arbejderforbund). #Distributions based on branch of trade are, in most cases, pre- ferable to distributions based on trade unions because working conditions as well as technological conditions and economic con- ditions are, very often, specifically connected with one branch of trade; another reason is that most statistics on labour market conditions are distributed according to branch of trade. And, finally, the new Working Environment Act employs branch of trade distributions although in a very broad sense (safety committees at the branch of trade level). #Firm level distributions are also important. The firm forms the physical, economic and social framework of most of the conditions examined in this survey. Firm level distributions are also im- portant in the sense that one of the survey's objectives is that the results may be used in connection with concrete improvements, improvements which must be decided on as well as implemented in the firms themselves. Again, this is in keeping with the intention of the new Working Environment Act, which stresses the need for working environ- mental initiatives at firm level. #Finally, the survey examines distributions based on individual job functions. Job function distributions make it possible to describe the specific nature of each job and typical effects and symptoms connected with the job, and they also make it possible to describe the division of labour between men and women working in these branches of trade. #As many of the following aspects as possible are included in the description of individual branches of trade, firms and jobs: #Economic conditions: first and foremost the competitive situation of the branch of trade/firm, including foreign competition, home market developments, etc. #Technological development: technology in connection with machinery used in the production sector. The economic side of this is the question of the size of investments in machines and installations, and the working environmental aspect is the question of what types of job the machines create for the employees, i.e. supervisory work, operating the machines, artisan's work, repair work, etc. #Organization and employer-employee co-operation: the degree to which employers and employees are organized; whether the workers have formed industrial clubs; whether they have chosen shop stewards and safety representatives; whether the firms in question have safety councils and works committees; whether representatives have been elected to the management of limited liability companies. These are the most important questions. #Pay: wages are equally crucial to employees and employers. The survey examines the development of wages within the branch of trade in question and within the various trades as well as the development of wages for men and women. And the survey examines various forms, or systems of pay, i.e. wages based on time work and wages based on piece work, and two wage systems, i.e. standard wages and minimum wages. #Physical and chemical effects: the physical and chemical effects are supposed to be correlated with type of job, firm and industry/branch of trade. The survey deals with the problems of individual jobs in particular. #Family conditions: several factors are examined under this head- ing. Marital status (single or married/cohabiting)? Do both, or only one of them, earn a living? Does the woman earn more than the man or vice versa, etc.? The division of labour in the home influences the strain on the woman/man as does the number and age of the children. Finally, the size and the facilities of the home are described. #The starting point of the survey is that the correlation between productivity and the health of the employees is dependent on a variety of factors, i.e. the factors enumerated above. In certain cases there may be a conflict of interest between the health of the employees and the competitive power of the firm, particularly in branches of trade characterized by piece work and mass production. These are the very branches of trade which, to a great extent, employ unskilled female labour. #In this connection, an important objective of the survey is to examine the degree to which the division of labour between women and men coincides with the division into piece work, on the one hand, and artisan's work and supervisory functions on the other. If most of the piece work is done by women, the characteristic features of piece work will probably account for the large number of symptoms of illness among women. #Until now, practically no research has been done on the working environment of the branches of trade selected for this survey. The survey carried out by the Danish National Institute of Social Research suggested the possibility that the health risks of employees, especially the women perhaps, in these branches of trade are great and that they have many symptoms of ill-health. If the present survey succeeds in verifying this theory, the next step will be to examine various causal relations

Variable Groups

Full Title

Working Conditions and Health of Women in Denmark, 1976-1977

Parallel Title

Danske kvinders helbred og arbejdsmiljø 1976-77

Identification Number


Funding Agency/Sponsor

Name Abbreviation Role Grant

Bibliographic Citation

Working Conditions and Health of Women in Denmark, 1976-1977, Danish Data Archive, DDA213, version: 1.0.0, 10.5279/DK-SA-DDA-213

List of Keywords

Geographic Coverage

Descriptive Text


Descriptive Text


Unit of Analysis




Kind of Data

survey data


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