Workingtime and caring
strategies: parenthood in different
Thomas P. Boje
The aims of this chapter are to examine how parents manage their
work and caring obligations, to identify which working and caring
arrangements help parents balance their obligations, and how parents’
strategies are influenced by welfare state policies. Of particular interest
is the impact of flexible workingtime as well as different types of care
policies in creating a more gender-balanced division of labour in
families. It is widely recognised that
Policy & Politics vol 28 no 3
Comparing unemployment in the UK and European
Union: a gender and workingtime analysis
The claim that the UK’s ‘flexible’ labour market had generated greater job creation than in other EU
countries is challenged through a rereading of European labour force trends, focusing on gender, age
and workingtime. The UK performance was characterised by long-standing high rates of male
unemployment, a high want-to-work rate, fragmented employment, and the absorption of female
demand into part-time work. The
theoretical concept of family display to interviews with 42 parents of preschool children in Sweden and the UK. Arguing that a need to display ‘good’ parenting affects decisions on policy use, we examine how parents’ talk about parental leave, childcare arrangements and working-time adaptations convey efforts to display ‘good’ parenthood. Central questions are whether displays of parenthood reflect traditional or changing gender roles and how patterns vary between the contexts.
Sweden and the UK represent different configurations of family policies. Sweden has a long
Having the time for our life:
Linda Boyes and Jim McCormick
How could working lives be reshaped to afford all employees greater
choice in achieving work–life balance? The Scottish Council
Foundation’s ‘Lifelines’ study has considered this question, drawing
on comparative findings from policy and practice in the UK, Canada
and Australia and testing practical options for reform with public and
private sector employees in Scotland (Boyes and McCormick,
Two related dimensions for improvement emerge. One
Part-time working women’s access
to other types of flexible working-
time arrangements across Europe
One of the commonly used strategies for mothers to combine paid
work with family life is to reduce their working hours and move to
a part-time job (Stier et al, 2001; Visser, 2002). Part-time working
allows mothers to address the demands of family life while maintaining
their links to the labour market by reducing the demands coming from
work. In addition to reducing hours, there are other flexible working
Does flexible working really provide a better work-life balance?
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, flexible working has become the norm for many workers. This volume offers an original examination of flexible working using data from 30 European countries and drawing on studies conducted in Australia, the US and India. Rather than providing a better work-life balance, the book reveals how flexible working can lead to exploitation, which manifests differently for women and men, such as more care responsibilities or increased working hours.
Taking a critical stance, this book investigates the potential risks and benefits of flexible working and provides crucial policy recommendations for overcoming the negative consequences.
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This book brings together leading international authors from a number of fields to provide an up-to-date understanding of part-time work at national, sector, industry and workplace levels. The contributors critically examine part-time employment in different institutional settings across Europe, the USA, Australia and Korea.
This analysis serves as a prism to investigate wider trends, particularly in female employment, including the continued increase in part-time work and processes that are increasingly creating dualisation and inequality between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ jobs.
The relationship between gender and welfare states is of key importance in understanding welfare states and gender equality and inequality. Western welfare states of the post-war era were built on assumptions about gender difference: they treated men as breadwinners and women as carers. Now governments are committed in principle to gender equality. But how far have they come from male breadwinner assumptions to gender equality assumptions? How much do gender differences continue in UK social policy and social practice?
The book analyses the male breadwinner model in terms of power, employment, care, time and income, providing a framework for chapters which ask about policies and practices for gender equality in each of these. This new approach to analysis of gender equality in social welfare contextualises national policies and debates within comparative theoretical analysis and data, making the volume interesting to a wide audience.
How to respond to the needs of working parents has become a pressing social policy issue in contemporary Western Europe. This book highlights the politicising of parenthood in the Scandinavian welfare states - focusing on the relationship between parents and the state, and the ongoing renegotiations between the public and the private.
Drawing on new empirical research, leading Scandinavian academics provide an up-to-date record and critical synthesis of Nordic work-family reforms since the 1990s. A broad range of policies targeting working parents is examined including: the expansion of childcare services as a social right; parental leave; cash benefits for childcare; and working hours regulations.
The book also explores policy discourses, scrutinises outcomes, and highlights the similarities and differences between Nordic countries through analyses of comparative statistical data and national case studies. Set in the context of economic restructuring and the growing influence of neo-liberal ideology, each chapter addresses concerns about the impact of policies on the gender relations of parenthood.
“Politicising parenthood in Scandinavia” is a timely contribution to ongoing policy debates on welfare state models, parenthood and gender equality. It will be of particular interest to students and teachers of welfare studies, family policy and gender studies.
Understanding of welfare states has been much enriched by comparative work on welfare regimes and gender. This book uses these debates to illuminate the changing gender regimes in countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It has particular significance as countries in the region make the transition from communism and into a European Union that has issues of women’s employment, work-life balance, and gender equality at the heart of its social policy.
The analysis draws on quantitative comparative data, and on rich qualitative data from a new study of mothers in Polish households, illuminating the effects of changing welfare and gender relations from the perspective of those most directly affected - mothers of young children.
This book is an important addition to the literature and is recommended to academics and students interested in the study of gender relations, welfare states, and international and comparative European social policy. The insights gained will also be of value to those engaged in welfare policy and practice.