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Familialist option of the french Work/family balance policies: elements for a discussion

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Abstract

Work/family balance (WFB) debates and policies in France appear in a paradoxical context. In this country where the fertility rate is the highest in Europe (2 children per woman in 2006), where almost 60% of the women between 15 and 64 are on the labour market, mainly in full-time jobs, where childcare services and pre-schools offer a large panel of formal childcare arrangements, the level of stress and pressure that parents are facing in terms of WFB is still very high. To explain this paradox of the negative WFB in the French context, Crompton insists on the very unequal division of domestic and caring tasks between genders, what she called “gender traditionalism” (Crompton, 2006). This hypothesis of a French traditionalism or conservatism, as far as family and family policies are concerned, needs probably to be demonstrated. For example, it is difficult to assess what could be the main source of this negative WFB, stress and tensions in French households. Is the French conservatism the main factor? Why don’t we consider the impact of the labour market transformation, which may explain this strong tension between work and family life? As a matter of fact, these tensions, stress and pressure that parents are facing in their daily life may have much to do with a global degradation of the labour market.
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halshs-01172110 , version 1 (06-07-2015)

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  • HAL Id : halshs-01172110 , version 1

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Claude Martin, Blanche Le Bihan. Familialist option of the french Work/family balance policies: elements for a discussion. Work/family balance: politics and policy issues in relation to gender equality, CINEFOGO Network and ESRC gender equality network, London School of Economics, Mar 2007, London, United Kingdom. ⟨halshs-01172110⟩
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