France: gender equality a pipe dream?

Jeanne Fagnani and Antoine Math

in The politics of parental leave policies

Published by Policy Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9781847420671
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447303961 | DOI:
France: gender equality a pipe dream?

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Since the 1970s, there have been intensive efforts by successive French governments to promote social policies designed to enable mothers to juggle both family responsibilities and full-time employment. In particular, at the beginning of the 1980s, as the Socialists came into power, there was a marked increase in the level of funds allocated for the construction of crèches by both the local authorities and the Caisse Nationale des Allocations Familiales (CNAF). This phenomenon coincided with the entry of many mothers of young children into the paid labour force. Today, along with the Nordic countries, France leads the European Union in the provision of childcare and benefits aimed at reducing childcare costs for families. These developments emerged along with the progressive implementation of parental leave policies. This chapter discusses the rationales that have underpinned the periodic changes in the politics of parental leave in France. It discusses the primary economic and social factors that influenced the decisions made by the successive governments. Finally, the chapter addresses the respective roles played by each social partner during the decision-making processes. The first part of the chapter offers a review of the institutions and social actors involved in the decision-making processes in the field of parental leave policies. The second part explores the issues outlined above.

Keywords: mothers; family responsibilities; full-time employment; France; childcare; parental leave; social partners

Chapter.  7238 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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