Family (versus) Policy
Combining Work & Care in Russia & Sweden
Stockholm Studies in Sociology, New Series No. 30
By Zhanna Kravchenko
Stockholm University Press
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
184 pages, Illustrated
$77.50 Paper Original
The twentieth century has witnessed a revolution in the ways in which the social division of labour is organised, and in terms of how waged work and caring for children are reconciled. This study explores family policy from the perspective of its capacity to manage the socio-economic risks emanating from combining the roles of breadwinner and caregiver which many parents are beginning to do in contemporary society.
This study is focused on Russia and Sweden, countries which have a large share of their female population in the labour force and an institutionalised public policy directed towards meeting the challenges of childrearing in dual-earner families. In the first empirical stage of the study, I examine the establishment and development of family policies in these countries, and analyse their effects in terms of how they have attempted to reconcile the competing demands of work and family life in recent years, specifically, by focusing on three main components: parental leave regulations, the organisation of early childcare and education, and schemes of financial assistance and support for families with children (including their impact on poverty reduction, with the use of Luxemburg Income Survey data).
The next stage, involved the exploration of the normative setting in which employment and parenting are realised. To do this I used survey data from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), and its modules on Family and Gender Roles. In the final stage, by conducting in-depth interviews with families in Stockholm and St. Petersburg I was able to examine how decisions about using the available public means of assistance and support are negotiated within households, and which factors, other than public policy, influence such decisions.
The results of these three empirical parts are juxtaposed in order to establish the relation between official inputs into family policy and the complex picture of its outcome in the two countries.
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