Labour markets, families and public policies shaping gender relations and parenting: Introduction to the Special Issue
Keywords:Family policy, Fathering, Gender, Mothering, Migrant fathers, Parental leave, Poverty
Objective: This article introduces the reader to the Special Issue "Labour markets, families and public policies shaping gender relations and parenting" and gives a theoretical and empirical overview of gender roles and gender equality in Europe.
Background: This Special Issue analyses the connection between labour markets, families, social policy, and gender relations in several European countries.
Method: The six included articles are based on qualitative and quantitative approaches and data that have been gathered in Finland, Norway, Poland, Spain, and across the entire EU.
Results: Key findings are: (1) In less egalitarian countries, children of single parents suffer more nutritional, educational and social life deprivation. (2) The institutional design of parental leave can contribute to reproducing gender inequality in the use of leave. (3) The institutional design interacts with cultural norms in shaping fatherhood practices of migrant fathers. (4) Individualised, performance-based wage and career schemes can counteract the effects of gender-equalising family policies. (5) Fathers taking leave independently from the mother and for an extended period are more involved in childcare beyond the leave period, and (6) the use of longer unpaid parental leave by mothers leads to a more unequal distribution of childcare between the parents.
Conclusion: This Special Issue highlights that even in the most egalitarian countries, there remain persistent challenges to achieving gender equality regarding labour market, institutions and family life.
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