Supports and constraints for parents: a gendered cross-national perspective

Janet Smithson, Suzan Lewis, Siyka Kovacheva, Laura den Dulk, Bram Peper and Anneke van Doorne-Huiskes

in Transitions to parenthood in Europe

Published by Policy Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9781847428646
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9781447307563 | DOI:
Supports and constraints for parents: a gendered cross-national perspective

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The chapter adopts a thematic approach. It considers the range of resources available for working parents in the seven national contexts each with different levels of public and private support, working hours and childcare. It provides a systematic overview of the types and sources of support for working parents. It demonstrates how different working hours regimes, forms of formal and informal childcare, and systems of leave create complex webs of support. Organisational context is shown to be crucial, not only the existence of formal policies, but also relational support and workplace culture and practices on parents' understandings and take-up of the support, and the constraints in countries with discretionary policies. Childcare is variously considered a private, a family or a public concern, in the different national contexts. It shows how these national assumptions and practices affect working hours, feelings of entitlement to support and gendered experiences of constraints or support.

Keywords: working parents; childcare; organisational culture; gender; cross-national

Chapter.  6281 words. 

Subjects: Marriage and the Family

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