A Means to a Changing End. European Resources: The EU and the Reconciliation of Paid Work and Private Life

Abstract : European resources related to reconciliation policies have been incrementally developed and transformed. Three main phases of this process can be distinguished in the progressive institutionalisation and evolution of this field of action at the EU level. At first, the reconciliation issue appeared on the European agenda as a spillover interpretation of ‘equal treatment’. It then acquired greater autonomy, becoming an equal opportunity policy, leading to the development of various (legal, financial, cognitive and political) instruments around the objectives of improving work/family balance and the division of labour between women and men. Finally, this field has been converted into an economic employment policy field aimed at modernising welfare systems and guaranteeing budgetary sustainability through increases in fertility rates and, most importantly, female employment rates. However, this has come at the expense of the initial gender equality goals. The conclusion underlines the diverse and evolving meanings of the ‘reconciliation’ issue and its orientation. This diversity in meanings and orientations allows greater room for manoeuvre at the domestic level and even more diverse patterns of national usages of Europe, as is shown in the rest of this special issue.
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Sophie Jacquot, Clémence Ledoux, Bruno Palier. A Means to a Changing End. European Resources: The EU and the Reconciliation of Paid Work and Private Life. European Journal of Social Security, Intersentia, 2011, 13 (1), pp.26 - 46. ⟨hal-01307674⟩

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