Balancing Work and Care in South Europe: Policy Challenges in the Road to Recovery

Friday, July 10, 2015
S13 (13 rue de l'Université)
Edna Costa , Department of Political Studies, New University of Lisbon
The 20th century witnessed two major transformations: the development of the welfare state and the gender revolution. One dominant feature of this process was the rise in women’s participation in paid work while simultaneously remaining responsible for the family’s well-being. The gendered division of labor is thus one crucial obstacle to gender equality which the welfare states have been targeting through reconciliation policies, mediators of the work and family spheres.

Informed by mainstream welfare policies research and feminist approaches, this paper undertakes a comparative analysis of reconciliation policies and how they regulate both the participation in paid work and caring responsibilities in South European countries.  These countries have been experiencing a severe and prolonged economic crisis since the late 2000s. Signs of economic recovery remain weak and austerity measures continue to dominate in the region.    

The paper firstly focuses on the development of three core policy instruments - parental leaves, childcare services and taxation – in each of the four countries until the early 2000’s, moves on to considering the impact of the financial crisis on such policies and concludes with the challenges these four countries face in the post-crisis period regarding the balance between work and care.

  • Balancing Work and Care in South Europe_harvard citation.pdf (406.8 kB)