Handbook of Family Policy
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Handbook of Family Policy

Edited by Guðný B. Eydal and Tine Rostgaard

The Handbook of Family Policy examines how state and workplace policies support parents and their children in developing, earning and caring. With original contributions from 44 leading scholars, this Handbook provides readers with up-to-date knowledge on family policies and family policy research, taking stock of current literature as well as providing analyses of present-day policies, and where they should head in the future.
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Chapter 20: Work-family policies: has Latin America moved towards more gender and social equity?

Merike Blofield and Juliana Martínez Franzoni


Latin America has witnessed dramatic changes over the past two decades as millions of women have entered the labor force with enormous direct and indirect consequences on demographic patterns, family arrangements and strategies to reconcile work and family. The chapter by Blofield and Mart'nez Franzoni investigates these changes and their outcomes. The authors find that given the persistent income inequality pervasive in the region, strategies to reconcile work and family have been highly unequal. Meanwhile, and across income levels, male participation in unpaid care and domestic work has remained basically unchanged. The first decade and a half of the twenty-first century witnessed a period of intense statecraft as governments across Latin America pursued more equity-enhancing policies to cope with work-family relations. The authors argue that measures taken reflect a deliberate government response to involve state institutions, and to a lesser degree men, in caregiving. Early child education and care services and parental leaves are a case in point. They find that overall, while far behind the major structural changes the region has experienced, policy changes reflected an increasing recognition among political actors that work and family reconciliation is a matter that will require more rather than less state intervention.

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