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Constructions of Gender Equality in Swedish Family Policy

Lang, Lovisa LU (2015) WPMM42 20151
Sociology
School of Social Work
Abstract
Exploring problem representations in the policy discourses on the parental leave insurance and cash-for-childcare (CFC) allowance in Swedish parliamentary debates, this study aims to look into different meanings and problematizations attached to the concept of gender equality in Swedish family policy. Comparing the framing of problematizations in these policies, the objective is to uncover underlying normative assumptions, silences and contradictions relating to the concept of gender equality. The analysis is inspired by the constructivist 'What's the Problem Represented to Be?' approach to policy analysis, which critically explores problem representations embedded within policy discourse. A gender systems approach and feminist... (More)
Exploring problem representations in the policy discourses on the parental leave insurance and cash-for-childcare (CFC) allowance in Swedish parliamentary debates, this study aims to look into different meanings and problematizations attached to the concept of gender equality in Swedish family policy. Comparing the framing of problematizations in these policies, the objective is to uncover underlying normative assumptions, silences and contradictions relating to the concept of gender equality. The analysis is inspired by the constructivist 'What's the Problem Represented to Be?' approach to policy analysis, which critically explores problem representations embedded within policy discourse. A gender systems approach and feminist conceptualizations of labor division form the theoretical underpinnings of the analysis, in order to provide a contextualized discussion of gender equality constructions in relation to the Swedish welfare state. The results reveal silences, contradictions and tensions between different problematizations. The parental leave discourse connects equal division of parental leave to children's rights to both parents, women's labor market participation and men's caregiving responsibilities, thus constructing gender equality as based on sameness, in terms of a type of dual-earner/dual-carer model. However, the different policy solutions that exist in order to promote equality in parenthood problematize this either as an issue of structure, or as an issue of agency, which results in each of the solutions failing to problematize the other side of this structure/agency dichotomy. In the policy discourse on the CFC allowance, the frames of children's well-being and parental choice are connected in order to legitimize the lack of problematizations on gender equality in the policy, which fails to address the constructions of gender equality promoted by the policy proposal. This construction arguably adheres to a weak form of breadwinner/caregiver model, since the normative assumption of employment at the same time functions as a contradiction to the reform. In conclusion, the frames of parental choice and children's well-being legitimize the contradictory gender equality construction in the CFC allowance, which promotes a diverging ideal family model. (Less)
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author
Lang, Lovisa LU
supervisor
organization
course
WPMM42 20151
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
Gender Equality, Parental Leave, Cash-for-Childcare, Family Policy, Sweden
language
English
id
8082968
date added to LUP
2015-10-23 13:17:54
date last changed
2016-08-17 07:20:47
@misc{8082968,
  abstract     = {Exploring problem representations in the policy discourses on the parental leave insurance and cash-for-childcare (CFC) allowance in Swedish parliamentary debates, this study aims to look into different meanings and problematizations attached to the concept of gender equality in Swedish family policy. Comparing the framing of problematizations in these policies, the objective is to uncover underlying normative assumptions, silences and contradictions relating to the concept of gender equality. The analysis is inspired by the constructivist 'What's the Problem Represented to Be?' approach to policy analysis, which critically explores problem representations embedded within policy discourse. A gender systems approach and feminist conceptualizations of labor division form the theoretical underpinnings of the analysis, in order to provide a contextualized discussion of gender equality constructions in relation to the Swedish welfare state. The results reveal silences, contradictions and tensions between different problematizations. The parental leave discourse connects equal division of parental leave to children's rights to both parents, women's labor market participation and men's caregiving responsibilities, thus constructing gender equality as based on sameness, in terms of a type of dual-earner/dual-carer model. However, the different policy solutions that exist in order to promote equality in parenthood problematize this either as an issue of structure, or as an issue of agency, which results in each of the solutions failing to problematize the other side of this structure/agency dichotomy. In the policy discourse on the CFC allowance, the frames of children's well-being and parental choice are connected in order to legitimize the lack of problematizations on gender equality in the policy, which fails to address the constructions of gender equality promoted by the policy proposal. This construction arguably adheres to a weak form of breadwinner/caregiver model, since the normative assumption of employment at the same time functions as a contradiction to the reform. In conclusion, the frames of parental choice and children's well-being legitimize the contradictory gender equality construction in the CFC allowance, which promotes a diverging ideal family model.},
  author       = {Lang, Lovisa},
  keyword      = {Gender Equality,Parental Leave,Cash-for-Childcare,Family Policy,Sweden},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Constructions of Gender Equality in Swedish Family Policy},
  year         = {2015},
}