Job creation for both women and men should be a high priority for European policy-makers given the unsustainable levels of unemployment and labour force inactivity since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008. However, after earlier piecemeal attempts at a fiscal stimulus – which could have increased aggregate demand, growth and created jobs if continued and boosted – policy responses across Europe have almost exclusively focused on fiscal restraint (austerity) in an attempt to reduce fiscal deficits and government debt. This focus has led European governments to implement harsh austerity policies with negative repercussions on employment (both in the public and private sector), welfare, public and private investment and ultimately growth (IMF 2014). Further, it is becoming increasingly evident that such policies are shifting the burden of debt and budget deficit adjustment onto women (see e.g. Ch.4 by Vertova, Ch.5 by Barry and Ch.6 by Gago in this volume). For example, cutbacks to state-provided care services have led women to return to their traditional gender roles, stepping out of formal employment to take over caring responsibilities no longer funded by the state; precariousness of lone mothers is increasing due to cuts in state-funded services; and cuts in government expenditure have led to a further reduction in female-dominated public sector jobs and pay, particularly in the South Eurozone (i.e. Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece).