Using life stories and phone interviews, the study is interested in the path that male and female workers have taken during twenty years since their dismissal for economic reasons in the beginning of 1980 in Schirmeck, a small town located forty five kilometers from Strasbourg. There is long-term professional destabilization among the majority of women. Most women experienced a professional destabilization over a long period. Numerous unstable itineraries are observed. Withdrawals from active life, permanent for the older ones and temporary for mothers with young children, are the rule. In a deteriorated economic context, socio-demographic features influence the return to a paid job but also “the choice” of new jobs with very few links to the technical competences of the worker. The men, on the contrary, are less disadvantaged by the economic conjuncture and less subject to the private life constraint. They follow mainly professionally determined paths. The level of salaries has often nevertheless been called into question. Looking for better remuneration generates an inter-companies mobility which for the women is more a consequence of precarious employment.
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