The Impact of Social Investment Perspectives on Gender Equality: Critical Review of the EU Childcare Strategy

Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Gilbert Scott Building - Room 253 (University of Glasgow)
Annick Masselot , Law, University of Canterbury
The importance of accessible, affordable, flexible and high quality childcare facilities is acknowledged by the European Union (EU) as an essential element to achieving gender equality and full employment for parents. Legal and policy development in this area has been slow and without coherence. Against expectation the EU has been active in developing childcare policy in the years following the 2008 financial crisis. However, the rationale for intervention on childcare appears to have shifted from gender equality to economic imperatives.

This paper focusses specifically on the impact of Social Investment Package (2013) as a distinctive welfare policy strategy on the gender equality agenda. It argues that although social investment strategies have contributed to raise gender equality awareness, a critical inspection of the policies on childcare in the EU reveals that gender equality concerns are in fact none-inexistent. The independently valuable goal of gender equality is being hijacked to become an instrument designed to realise economic and demographic aims. The focus on children is moreover furthering a narrow concept of motherhood, which limits possibilities for gender equality.