BeschreibungPart I Nordic welfare states - 'Defamilisation' and 'Individualisation' - Family Policy. The Case of Sweden - Current Issues of Family Policy in Denmark - Family Policy in Finland - Family Policy in Norway - Family Policy in Iceland: An Overview - Part II Varieties of 'Familism' - Family Policy in the UK - Private Responsibility and Some Support. Family Policy in the Netherlands - Family Policies in Germany - Comparison and Conclusion with articles by Ulla Björnberg and Lillemor Dahlgren, Peter Abrahamson and Cecilie Wehner, Katja Forssén, Anne-Mari Jaakola, and Veli-Matti Ritakallio, Anne Skevik and Aksel Hatland, Gudný Björk Eydal and Stefán Ólafsson, Trudie Knijn, Sigrid Leitner, Ilona Ostner,and Christoph Schmitt
InhaltsverzeichnisPart I Nordic welfare states - 'Defamilisation' and 'Individualisation' - Family Policy. The Case of Sweden - Current Issues of Family Policy in Denmark - Family Policy in Finland - Family Policy in Norway - Family Policy in Iceland: An Overview - Part II Varieties of 'Familism' - Family Policy in the UK - Private Responsibility and Some Support. Family Policy in the Netherlands - Family Policies in Germany - Comparison and Conclusion with articles by Ulla Björnberg and Lillemor Dahlgren, Peter Abrahamson and Cecilie Wehner, Katja Forssén, Anne-Mari Jaakola, and Veli-Matti Ritakallio, Anne Skevik and Aksel Hatland, Gudný Björk Eydal and Stefán Ólafsson, Trudie Knijn, Sigrid Leitner, Ilona Ostner,and Christoph Schmitt
PortraitIlona Ostner is Professor of Social Policy at the Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Faculty of Social Science.Christoph Schmitt teaches social policy at the Georg-August-University, Göttingen, Faculty of Social Science.
LeseprobeFamily Policy. The Case of Sweden (p. 37)
Ulla Björnberg and Lillemor Dahlgren
Family policy in Sweden has three major purposes: to promote equal opportunities between men and women, to reduce the costs for parents of raising children, and third to provide affordable and high quality childcare for all children. An adult worker model has been the model for family policy in Sweden since 1960-1970. To accomplish this model, a priority has been to bring women into the labour market. For this goal to be accomplished a wide range of de-familialisation policies has been introduced. Within the framework of social insurance extensive rights to reimbursed parental leave for both mothers and fathers were established in the 1970s and gradually extended over the years.
For the last decade policies have focussed on fatherhood and the rights of children to have access to both mothers and fathers. Neutrality has been applied within the system but there was a preference for individualised rights to parental leave in order to encourage fathers to take more parental leave. Public childcare has high coverage and is now an integral part of the educational programmes for children.
Key words: Gender equality, Sweden, childcare, parental leave
Forty years ago, the breadwinner family was put on the agenda for change in Swedish policy debates. The reform process started at the beginning of the 1960s when the nuclear breadwinner family model was questioned in public debates as being problematic for both women and men in a democratic society (Dahlström, 1962, Tiller, 1962). Intellectuals led the debates that focussed on sex roles as being highly unequal. At an early stage, the debate emphasised ideals of equality between men and women.
Equality was legitimised with arguments about modernity and the emancipation of men and wo
men. Breadwinning and caring were felt to be the responsibility of both sexes, and the drive toward greater equality ought to involve both women and men (Klinth, 2002, Bergman &, Hobson, 2002). The debate on equal opportunities of women and men was the starting point for reforms that mainly were introduced during the 1970s. With these reforms an adult worker family model, as Jane Lewis (2001) named it, was institutionalised in society.
These reforms were integrated into a more encompassing model of the Swedish welfare state after the Second World War, one which has been characterised as a universalistic model with individual and gender-neutral social rights and with extended responsibility by the public sector for social care and social services1.
Sweden established its adult worker model already during the 1960s and 1970s primarily to increase womens labour market participation. Goals enhancing the adult worker model were unanimously supported by a broad coalition of political actors (Hinnfors, 1991). Promoting womens employment also necessitated an institutional framework regarding the care of children and other dependant family members.
The subsequent parental leave reform in 1974 and a reform of institutional childcare were to pave the way for women to enter the labour market in high numbers. The political agreements that were reached were built on compromises between different political understandings of equality and of the relationship between the state and the family.
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