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Article
Publication date: 14 March 2017

Rense Nieuwenhuis, Ariana Need and Henk Van der Kolk

The purpose of this paper is to revisit the question whether women’s employment is negatively affected in countries with very long periods of childcare leave.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to revisit the question whether women’s employment is negatively affected in countries with very long periods of childcare leave.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors analyzed data on 192,484 individual women, 305 country-years, and 18-countries, combined with country-level data on childcare, unemployment and service sector size.

Findings

The authors found that in countries with short periods of childcare leave the motherhood-employment gap is smaller than in countries with no childcare leave, while in countries with long periods of childcare leave the motherhood-employment gap is bigger than with short periods of leave.

Originality/value

The authors argued that to correctly answer the long-leave question – the relationship between duration of leave and employment of women should be explicitly hypothesized as being curvilinear; and childcare leave should be expected to affect only mothers, not women without children; testing the long-leave hypothesis requires the use of country-comparative data in which countries are observed repeatedly over time; and is best tested against person-level data.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 37 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Book part
Publication date: 14 April 2008

Janneke Plantenga, Chantal Remery, Melissa Siegel and Loredana Sementini

Personal services are extremely important in the lives of working parents. This applies in particular to childcare services, as care responsibilities constitute a major…

Abstract

Personal services are extremely important in the lives of working parents. This applies in particular to childcare services, as care responsibilities constitute a major obstacle to (full) employment. The importance of measures in this area has long been recognised by the European Council and Union. In March 1992, the European Council passed a recommendation on childcare to the effect that Member States ‘should take and/or progressively encourage initiatives to enable women and men to reconcile their occupational family and upbringing responsibilities arising from the care of children’ (92/241/EEC). Ten years later, at the 2002 Barcelona summit, the aims were formulated more explicitly and targets were set with regard to childcare. Confirming the goal of full employment, the European Council agreed that ‘Member States should remove disincentives to female labour force participation and strive, taking into account the demand for childcare facilities and in line with national patterns of provision, to provide childcare by 2010 to at least 90% of children between 3 years old and the mandatory school age and at least 33% of children under 3 years of age’ (European Council, 2002).

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Childhood: Changing Contexts
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-7623-1419-5

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Book part
Publication date: 28 February 2007

Akira Kawaguchi

Abstract

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Population Change, Labor Markets and Sustainable Growth: Towards a New Economic Paradigm
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-0-44453-051-6

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Book part
Publication date: 1 June 2018

Olga Nešporová and Kristýna Janurová

The chapter draws on recent scientific findings on the participation of fathers in childcare, and the perception of the role of fathers by both men and women in the Czech…

Abstract

The chapter draws on recent scientific findings on the participation of fathers in childcare, and the perception of the role of fathers by both men and women in the Czech Republic. We apply a mixed method approach, combining qualitative data from longitudinal research on transition to motherhood and fatherhood (TransPARENT), which traced 16 parental couples for four years, with data from quantitative surveys on the topics of parenting and work–life balance. The data are examined for the incidence of breadwinner and the involved father models in Czech families. We focus on the earliest stage of the family life course, that is, when the children are aged between zero and four years. We show that fathers of young children still predominantly assume the breadwinner role, leaving most childcare to mothers. However, the growing number of parents expressing a preference for a more equal sharing of childcare indicates a shift in both the perception of fatherhood and the value placed on the active participation of fathers in early childcare in the Czech Republic. The main limitation of this text is that it only focuses on families with very young children. The future research should fill the gaps in contemporary knowledge of Czech families by addressing the division of roles, and particularly the roles of fathers, in households with school-age children. The chapter suggests that fathers’ greater involvement in childcare could be stimulated by policy measures such as the introduction of paternal leave or broadening the range of (public) childcare services for the youngest children.

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Fathers, Childcare and Work: Cultures, Practices and Policies
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-042-6

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Anne Annink, Laura den Dulk and Bram Steijn

– The purpose of this paper is to map and understand work-family state support for the self-employed compared to employees across European countries.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to map and understand work-family state support for the self-employed compared to employees across European countries.

Design/methodology/approach

To map state work-family support policies for the self-employed, an overview of public childcare, maternity, paternity, and parental leave arrangements across European countries is created based on databases, local government web sites, and local experts’ country notes. Secondary data analyses are conducted in order to compare support for the self-employed to support for employees and across countries. Differences across countries are analysed from a welfare state regime perspective, which explicates assumptions about the role of the government in providing work-family state support and which is often used in research on work-family support for employees.

Findings

Results show that, in general, the self-employed receive less work-family state support than employees or none at all. The extensiveness of work-family state support varies widely across European countries. Patterns of welfare states regimes, which explain variation in work-family support for employees, can also be found in the context of self-employment.

Practical implications

Findings result in practical suggestions for policy makers at the European and national level to monitor policy compliance considering maternity leave for the self-employed, to increase childcare support, and to rethink the European Entrepreneurship 2020 Action Plan.

Originality/value

Work-family state support for the growing number of self-employed has never been mapped before, although this is a very topical issue for (European) policy makers. This paper offers a starting point to contextualise and understand the way self-employed experience the work-family interface in different country contexts.

Details

Journal of Entrepreneurship and Public Policy, vol. 4 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2045-2101

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Article
Publication date: 10 June 2020

Yoon Hyung Lee and Joo-Yeon Lee

The paper attempts to closely look into childcare regime in South Korea as well as Korean parents' childcare preference and usage across their young's early years. Through…

Abstract

Purpose

The paper attempts to closely look into childcare regime in South Korea as well as Korean parents' childcare preference and usage across their young's early years. Through ascertaining Korean family needs in childcare while considering their cultural and social context, directions for future childcare policy development are offered. In so doing, it is hoped to inform Korea and other Asian countries going through similar social and economic changes of ways to build upon childcare policy while taking into account their individual context.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review took place using theoretical frameworks of poststructuralism and institutionalized individualization. First, further attention to “problems” on Korean childcare policy is paid while considering the nation's situated cultural and social context. Also, individual families are viewed with autonomy and responsibility in undertaking childcare duties; thus, further individualized childcare service is proposed for the integration of the nation throughout the paper.

Findings

It was found there has been a mismatch between the nation's childcare policy regime and culture. The state exclusively provides defamilialistic childcare service provision, while many Korean families uphold familialism in meeting their childcare demands. In order to meet the sociocultural needs of Korean families, therefore, the enactment of complementary childcare service provision and the establishment of generous parental leave policies were proposed.

Originality/value

Many Asian countries work toward resembling egalitarian societies implementing Western policies and values. However, in reality, little change has shown especially in the paradigm of family, family values and family responsibilities in Korea. Therefore, this paper suggests that policymakers should take a careful evaluation of current childcare provisions and strive for gradual improvement rather than radical changes in childcare policy regime.

Details

Asian Education and Development Studies, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 2046-3162

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Article
Publication date: 10 March 2020

Andrea Doucet and Lindsey McKay

This research article explores several questions about assessing the impacts of fathers' parental leave take up and gender equality. We ask: How does the conceptual and…

Abstract

Purpose

This research article explores several questions about assessing the impacts of fathers' parental leave take up and gender equality. We ask: How does the conceptual and contextual specificity of care and equality shape what we focus on, and how, when we study parental leave policies and their impacts? What and how are we measuring?

Design/methodology/approach

The article is based on a longitudinal qualitative research study on families with fathers who had taken parental leave in two Canadian provinces (Ontario and Québec), which included interviews with 26 couples in the first stage (25 mother/father couples and one father/father couple) and with nine couples a decade later. Guided by Margaret Somers' historical sociology of concept formation, we explore the concepts of care and equality (and their histories, networks, and narratives) and how they are taken up in parental leave research. We also draw on insights from three feminist scholars who have made major contributions to theoretical intersections between care, work, equality, social protection policies, and care deficits: Nancy Fraser, Joan Williams, and Martha Fineman.

Findings

The relationship between fathers' leave-taking and gender equality impacts is a complex, non-linear entanglement shaped by the specificities of state and employment policies and by how these structure parental eligibility for leave benefits, financial dimensions of leave-taking (including wage replacement rates for benefits), childcare possibilities/limitations and related financial dimensions for families, masculine work norms in workplaces, and intersections of gender and social class. Overall, we found that maximizing both parental leave time and family income in order to sustain good care for their children (through paid and unpaid leave time, followed by limited and expensive childcare services) was articulated as a more immediate concern to parents than were issues of gender equality. Our research supports the need to draw closer connections between parental leave, childcare, and workplace policies to better understand how these all shape parental leave decisions and practices and possible gender equality outcomes.

Research limitations/implications

The article is based on a small and fairly homogenous Canadian research sample and thus calls for more research to be done on diverse families, with attention to possible conceptual diversity arising from these sites.

Practical implications

This research calls for greater attention to: the genealogies of, and relations between, the concepts of care, equality, and subjectivity that guide parental leave research and policy; to the historical specificity of models like the Universal Caregiver model; and to the need for new models and conceptual configurations that can guide research on care, equality, and parental leave policies in current global contexts of neoliberal capitalism.

Originality/value

We call for a move toward thinking about care, not only as care time, but as responsibilities, which can be partly assessed through the stories people tell about how they negotiate and navigate care, domestic work, and paid work responsibilities in specific contexts and conditions across time. We also advocate for gender equality concepts that attend to how families navigate restrictive parental leave and childcare policies and how broader socio-economic inequalities arise partly from state policies underpinned by a concept of liberal autonomous subjects rather than relational subjects who face moments of vulnerability and inter-dependence across the life course.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 40 no. 5/6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 28 June 2011

Helle Neergaard and Claus Thrane

The welfare states of Scandinavia have been regarded as forerunners of gender equality, but structural barriers to women's participation in the labour market may…

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Abstract

Purpose

The welfare states of Scandinavia have been regarded as forerunners of gender equality, but structural barriers to women's participation in the labour market may discriminate against women and create opportunity costs delimiting women's career choices. Family policies are defined to include maternity/paternity leave, benefits, childcare and leave to take care of sick children. The aim of this paper is to increase awareness and elucidate the impact of welfare policies on women's entrepreneurship because it may impact on women's entrepreneurial behaviour. Hence, it seeks to investigate the reasons underlying this apparent anomaly so that future policies in Scandinavia and Europe may be tailored to suit the needs of female entrepreneurs.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses publicly available statistical data combined with unique survey data from a sample of 1,000 sole proprietors (men and women), all members of the Danish Association for the Self‐employed, to identify the problems encountered by female entrepreneurs. The survey findings are illustrated with three interviews with female entrepreneurs that have been published in the Danish newspapers discussing the problems encountered by self‐employed female entrepreneurs.

Findings

Even though the various Scandinavian models provide for ample maternity leave, benefits and childcare, on the whole, the Nordic Welfare Model is too heavily grounded in the ideals of employment favouring employment over entrepreneurship. For example, in Denmark, a sole proprietor is not allowed to work whilst on maternity leave. If she does so, her maternity allowance is reduced. This may be tantamount to closing the business down if you have a child, and may account for the fact that women are generally much older than men when starting a business. The majority of women in the survey are critical of the maternity leave system and 30 percent perceive the childcare system as a significant barrier to starting a business.

Research limitations/implications

Future research needs to compare the Danish evidence with that from other Nordic countries to establish whether the problem is restricted to Denmark. Additionally, research should focus on identifying whether child‐bearing and ‐rearing influences on the age at which women start a business.

Originality/value

So far, it has been taken for granted that the initiation of public childcare would facilitate increased entrepreneurship among women. This study shows that this is not necessarily so, and that there is a schism between welfare models that facilitate employment and those that facilitate entrepreneurship.

Details

International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship, vol. 3 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1756-6266

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Article
Publication date: 18 May 2010

Laura den Dulk, Pascale Peters, Erik Poutsma and Paul E.M. Ligthart

The purpose of this paper is to propose an “extended conceptualization of the business case” including both organizational characteristics and institutional conditions to…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to propose an “extended conceptualization of the business case” including both organizational characteristics and institutional conditions to analyse employer involvement in extra statutory childcare and leave arrangements. Special attention is given to Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries.

Design/methodology/approach

The (multi‐level) multinomial regression analyses included company‐level data on human‐resource practices of 2,865 firms nested in 19 countries, representing all European welfare state regimes.

Findings

The extended business case appeared fruitful in order to explain variations in employer involvement. Particularly, state support was found to be negatively related to employer involvement. In the liberal regime, employer involvement was high, but variations across organizations were significant. In CEE‐countries, employer involvement was lowest, and did not vary by organizational business‐case factors.

Research limitations/implications

The paper used data from a cross‐sectional survey. To capture the long‐term trends, dynamics and nuances in employer involvement within and across various institutional contexts, a longitudinal in depth study is needed.

Practical implications

While state support in many CEE countries is declining, the analyses showed that employers will not automatically step in by providing additional work‐family arrangements. Social partners could use institutional pressure to stimulate a balance between state support and employer involvement.

Originality/value

The extended business‐case perspective contributes to the theory on the institutional embeddedness of decision making of employers. Moreover, it adds to the knowledge on employer involvement in institutional contexts which have hardly been studied before.

Details

Baltic Journal of Management, vol. 5 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1746-5265

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Article
Publication date: 31 August 2012

Marina Hennig, Stefan Stuth, Mareike Ebach and Anna Erika Hägglund

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how employed women perceive the reconciliation of work and family life in Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, Great Britain, Sweden…

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1624

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how employed women perceive the reconciliation of work and family life in Denmark, Germany, France, Finland, Great Britain, Sweden and Switzerland. The paper seeks to explore why women in certain countries are more successful in combining family responsibilities with gainful employment.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on data from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP) 2005, the questions are addressed by applying country specific linear regression analysis at the individual level, correlations at the country level as well as policy analysis.

Findings

The analysis shows that the most important factors influencing employed women's perception of the reconciliation are work load, the presence of children in the household and part‐time employment. In addition, the findings point at cross‐national differences. In countries where family policies focus on integrating men and women into the labour market, women rate the reconciliation of work and family life higher than in countries whose family policies aim at supporting the family.

Research limitations/implications

By comparing seven European countries the paper shows that family policies are closely related to employed women's perceptions of the reconciliation. In order to understand the interaction between the individual perception and the institutional framework, the paper suggests that further research is needed on women's perceptions in each country.

Originality/value

The paper explores how employed women perceive the reconciliation of work and family life in seven European countries and explains the differences by means of family policies.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 32 no. 9/10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

Keywords

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