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Mary Daly

This chapter presents an overview of some of the key obstacles to the realization of a ‘Social Europe’ policy agenda that has long been the declared goal of European social democrats within the institutions of the European Union. It argues that there are a number of institutional, political and social obstacles which impede the ‘Social Europe’ agenda and which have been identified, but that only a critical realist approach has thus far been able to adequately integrate these obstacles into a convincing explanation for the absence of substantive ‘Social Europe’ policy output. The chapter highlights the impact of these obstacles through a discussion of the development of EU social policy during the course of the post-2008 global and European economic crises.

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Mary Daly

Gender equality has been one of the defining projects of European welfarestates. It has proven an elusive goal, not just because of political opposition but also due to a lack of clarity in how to best frame equality and take account of family-related considerations. This wide-ranging book assembles the most pertinent literature and evidence to provide a critical understanding of how contemporary state policies engage with gender inequalities.
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Mary Daly

This chapter overviews the early work on gender and social policy, looking especially at how thinking and research unfolded over time. We start back in the late 1960s and proceed to around the1990s. The research question that underlies the chapter asks: What was problematized when women and gender were the focus of early critical social policy literature? The chapter is divided into two main parts. Following a brief overview, the first section sets out the main lines of research and investigation and the second looks at the sets of explanations offered, considering especially a range of feminist perspectives.

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Mary Daly

This chapter takes up the story of how the study and conceptualization of the relationship between gender and the welfare state proceeded from the 1990s. It shows the picture to be one of both continuing interest in some of the older issues as well as significant new trends and conceptual orientations. Four main lines of analysis are offered: elaborations of the underlying system; conceptions of processes and end states; the emergence and growth of the concept of care; and the growing interest in gender as one of a number of intersecting inequalities.

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Mary Daly

This chapter focuses on money and financial well-being as a domain of economic inequality. The chapter first considers the evidence yielded by the overview index of financial inequality by gender compiled on behalf of the EU to assess progress on gender equality. Next, inequalities in women’s and men’s financial resources are examined in greater depth, looking first at wealth before going on to consider financial (in)security through the lens of poverty rates. Having examined the relative distribution of economic resources and related income risks in the first parts of the chapter, the next goes on to identify how access to welfare state benefits is associated with the identified income-related outcomes. Pensions are taken as a case study here.

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Mary Daly

This chapter looks at the empirical reality of employment for women vis-à-vis men to identify the patterning of gender and other forms of inequality in relation to labour market engagement and working conditions. Again the key questions are: What is the status quo? What are the signature trends? Is the situation improving in regard to gender equality? The chapter is organized into three main sections. The first considers employment rates. The second section examines a range of sources of labour market-related inequality, especially in regard to structural matters (for example, duration of paid work, sectoral location, pay levels). The third section overviews the factors that have been identified by existing research as explanations for gender inequality in relation to employment rates and pay inequality.

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Mary Daly

This chapter turns to the third resource – time – and reviews how paid and unpaid work are distributed and organized, both collectively and individually. The chapter also considers some of the concomitants and consequences associated with the distribution of time, especially in regard to the attitudes that people hold about the appropriate gender distribution of family-related tasks and responsibilities, and also systematic variations in life satisfaction by gender and other factors. The chapter is guided by two main research questions: What is the nature of the gender divide in paid and unpaid time and how has this changed? How are these patterns related to attitudes and culture? As with the two preceding chapters, the focus is on explicating the status quo and identifying patterns over time.

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Mary Daly

The key questions that run throughout this chapter centre upon how equality has been conceived and addressed as a policy goal by the EU and what progress has been made in prioritizing gender. The chapter generally follows a chronological line of analysis. This serves to reveal the thinking (problematization) prevailing at different points in time as well as the cumulation of different approaches and their institutionalization. It starts with the legal approach adopted in the 1970s and then moves on to consider how, in the context of wavering faith in this view, gender mainstreaming was adopted as the favoured approach.

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Mary Daly

This chapter shifts the discussion, not just by moving from the EU level to that of the member states but also by considering gender and social policy in a more broad-ranging way. The first part of the chapter devotes attention to two important policy frames or rubrics: work–life balance and social investment. Subsequent sections of the chapter analyse the policy reforms that have sprung from these and other dominant considerations, examining in turn measures investing in parenting, in childcare and in care for older people. As with the other chapters, a short summary/overview draws the chapter to a close.

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Mary Daly

This concluding chapter reflects upon and fleshes out a future research agenda. As interpreted here, such an agenda centres around identifying penetrating themes and questions meriting further reflection and study, rather than aiming for a definitive theoretical or empirical framework. The latter risks becoming too fixed, especially in a context of rapid – and sometimes unexpected – change. Hence, the aim is to provide the building blocks of a programme for future research, both through identifying important concepts and lines of analysis, and identifying pertinent questions.