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Women’s opportunities under different family policy constellations: Gender, class, and inequality tradeoffs in western countries re-examined

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Korpi, Walter; Ferrarini, Tommy & Englund, Stefan
Publication Date: 
30 Apr 2013



This article explores tradeoffs reflecting interaction effects between socioeconomic class and different types of family policies on gender inequalities in terms of agency and economic inequality in eighteen Organization for Economic and Cultural Development countries. We identify multiple dimensions in family policies, reflecting the extent to which legislation involves claim rights supporting mothers’ paid work or supporting traditional homemaking. We use constellations of multidimensional policies in combination with multilevel analysis to examine effects on class selectivity of women into employment and glass ceilings with respect to women’s access to top wages and managerial positions. Our results indicate that while major negative family policy effects for women with tertiary education are difficult to find in countries with well-developed policies supporting women’s employment and workfamily reconciliation, family policies clearly differ in the extent to which they improve opportunities for women without university education.