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.
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