GENPATH – A life course perspective on the GENdered PATHways of exclusion from social relations in later life, and its consequences for health and wellbeing

Fotograf: Lars-Christer Hydén vid ASC
Photo by: Lars-Christer Hydén

GENPATH is funded in 2019-21 within the framework of the GENDER-NET Plus Joint Call on Gender and UN Sustainable Development Goals (http://www.gender-net.eu/).

It is at the heart of the international comparative research programme to analyses gender differences in social exclusion across Europe. GENPATH emphasises exclusion from social relations, asks for the root of social exclusion over the life course and analyses consequences in health and wellbeing in old age.

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Social exclusion is a multifaceted social problem with substantial disruptive consequences for individuals and society. One aspect of social exclusion is the exclusion from social relations, which is the key focus of this proposal. Being socially connected is a universal basic human need, but a substantial number of people lack the essential social resources necessary for a healthy and happy life.

GENPATH focusses on post-retirement age; a life phase where social inclusion becomes a crucial factor for health and wellbeing. Men and in particular women have an increased risk to be socially excluded after retirement. Women are more often frail, more often widowed, have lower levels of education, have more often disrupted working careers, lower pensions, and less economic resources. The large variation in social exclusion and the varying impact of gender across welfare states indicates a key role of the macro-social context. However, little is known about how precise the welfare state context influences the construction and outcomes of social exclusion.

GENPATH aims at analysing the origin of gender differences in the prevalence and generation of exclusion from social relations across European countries, and consequences of this exclusion for health and wellbeing. Findings will inform the scientific debate about gender differences in and social exclusion and instruct policies towards a reduction in social exclusion among older men and women. 

The general objective of GENPATH is to provide scientific knowledge about the gendered nature of the pathway from early life socio-economic conditions, micro-, meso- and macro-influences to exclusion from social relations in later life, and the consequences for health and wellbeing in later life, and to inform policies and as well as social actors. Cross-national comparisons and comparisons between men and women within different contexts will inform us about who are at risk of exclusion from social relations and hence require targeted policy and practice attention. GENPATH aims, in particular, to examine how precise the welfare state context influences the construction and outcomes of exclusion from social relations for both genders. The proposed transnational collaborations among the partners in the project will contribute to a better understanding of the role of how the macro-social context influences the gendered pathways to exclusion from social relations and its consequences for health and wellbeing in later life.

GENPATH will provide answers to the following general research questions:

  1. What is the prevalence of exclusion from social relations and its risk factors in later life in Europe and how does this vary across societies as well as between older men and women?
  2. What are outcomes of exclusions from social relations in later life in Europe and how do these vary across societies as well as between older men and women?
  3. Do variations in micro-, meso-, and macro-level drivers for exclusion, including the gendered social norms, key life transitions and exclusionary processes, help to explain cross-national and gender differences in the prevalence of exclusion from social relations?
  4. Do micro-, meso-, and macro-level factors, including the gendered social norms, key life transitions and exclusionary processes, have a moderating or mediating impact on outcomes of exclusion from social relations and do differences in the prevalence of these factors explain cross-national and gender differences in outcomes from exclusion from social relations?
  5. How to design policies and interventions to address the sources and alleviate the negative outcomes of the exclusion from social relations in men and women during their life course? And how, if at all, should these policies and interventions be fitted to welfare regimes of various nation states?

GENPATH partners
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MUNI – Masaryk University, Faculty of Social Studies;
Lucie Vidovićová, PhD. (PI, Coordinator)
Marcela Petrová Kafková, PhD.
Petr Fučík, PhD.
Život90/Life 90; Prague (Associate partner); Jan Lorman.

 

NOVA – Norwegian Social Research of Oslo-Met Oslo Metropolitan University;
Marja Aartsen, PhD. (PI)
Thomas Hansen, PhD.

 

UB – University of Barcelona;
Dr. Feliciano Villar Posada (PI)
Dr. Montserrat Celdrán
Dr. Rodrigo Serrat

 



LiU – Linköping University; Dep. of Social and Welfare Studies, Division Ageing and Social Change;
Prof. Dr. Andreas Motel-Klingebiel (PI)
Susanne Kelfve, Ph.D.

 

NUIG – National University of Ireland Galway, Irish Centre for Social Gerontology, Institute for Lifecourse and Society;
Prof. Kieran Walsh, PhD. (PI)
Dr. Aine Ni Leime

 

UNIVIE – University of Vienna, Department of Sociology
Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Franz Kolland (PI)
Anna Wanka, PhD.

 

HU – Haifa University
Prof. Ariela Lowenstein, PhD. (PI)
Prof. Ruth Katz, PhD
Sigal Naim, PhD.