Gendered citizenship: the care of young children

Lister Ruth, Williams Fiona, Anttonen Anneli, Bussemaker Jet, Gerhard Ute, Heinen Jacqueline, Johansson Stina, Leira Arnlaug, Siim Birte, Tobio Constanza and Gavanas Anna

in Gendering citizenship in Western Europe

Published by Policy Press

Published in print May 2007 | ISBN: 9781861346940
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447302438 | DOI:
Gendered citizenship: the care of young children

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This chapter reviews the central theoretical perspectives on childcare, gender, and social citizenship, and childcare as a social right of parents. It then discusses the main components of the childcare policy packages of the nine European welfare states, and parents' take-up and use of the childcare-related rights available. The chapter returns to the development of childcare-related social rights and their importance for the gendered differentiation of access to social and economic citizenship. It is clear that childcare is increasingly ‘going public’ in all Western European countries. Childcare policies may serve to familise or defamilise childcare and to commodify or decommodify the labour of the parents. The chapter explains the three sets of childcare-related policy measures: (1) leave arrangements for parents, (2) state-subsidised/approved childcare-service provision for children under school age, and (3) cash benefits for childcare. The gendering of citizenship is related to the renegotiation and redistribution of childcare responsibilities.

Keywords: gendered citizenship; young children; social citizenship; economic citizenship; social right; European welfare states; childcare policies; leave arrangements; childcare service; cash benefits

Chapter.  10912 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Gender and Sexuality

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