Values and Social Policy in Comparative Perspective
Edited by Wim van Oorschot, Michael Opiekla and Birgit Pfau-Effinger
Chapter 14: The Values of Work and Care Among Women in Modern Societies
14. The values of work and care among women in modern societies Detlev Lück and Dirk Hofäcker INTRODUCTION AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS After a strong cultural shift towards gender equality in the 1960s, and a series of laws and social policies designed to eliminate discrimination against women, there remains surprising stability in the actual gendered division of labour, especially in the division between paid and unpaid work, and particularly after the birth of the ﬁrst child (Schulz and Blossfeld, 2006; Mühling et al., 2006). Explanations for this persistence have mostly referred either to lingering structural obstacles to women’s equality (e.g. Becker, 1996), to culture (e.g. Inglehart, 1997), or to women’s individual preferences (Hakim, 2002). Few authors have analysed the way in which these dimensions are interrelated. We approach this interrelationship by studying women’s attitudes towards work and care as one dimension within this interrelationship, and by explaining it with reference to the others. This chapter, based on a crossnational comparison of the most recent data from the International Social Survey Programme (ISSP), asks which preferences women have regarding the choice between paid employment and responsibility for the family. As two oppositional landmarks, these two orientations correspond to two ideals regarding the division of labour within a couple. These are, on the one hand, the support for a ‘male breadwinner model,’ characterized by a full-time earning husband responsible for the ﬁnancial well-being of the family, and a care-giving housewife in charge of all household-related tasks. Its counterpart is...
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