Chapter

From powerful to powerless fathers: gender equality in Danish family policies on parenthood

Charlotte Andersen and Anna-Birte Ravn

in Gender equality and welfare politics in Scandinavia

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9781847424655
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302407 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/policypress/9781847424655.003.0008
From powerful to powerless fathers: gender equality in Danish family policies on parenthood

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This chapter investigates the changes in Danish family legislation on custody and visiting rights in respect of children after divorce or partnership break-up, focusing on political discourses on fatherhood and motherhood, and on gender and equality. It also describes the changing perceptions of fatherhood and motherhood, marriage and partnership, parents' rights and obligations, and gender and equality, voiced by Danish MPs in the period 1969–95 and lying behind the successive alterations in Danish family law. It is shown that most political parties tried to balance the rights and obligations of parents with regard to custody and the visiting rights of children against the gendered inequalities in reproduction as well as production, constructing the unmarried or divorced mother as the weaker party who deserved protection against the more powerful father. The Danish MPs' political ambitions still seem to have found their limits by the end of the twentieth century.

Keywords: family legislation; custody; fatherhood; motherhood; gender equality; marriage; partnership

Chapter.  6451 words. 

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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