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Parental leave regulations and the persistence of the male breadwinner model: Using fuzzy set ideal type analysis to access gender equality in an enlarged europe

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Ciccia, R., & Verloo, M.
Publication Date: 
31 Dec 2011



This paper uses fuzzy-set ideal type analysis to assess the conformity of European leave regulations to four theoretical ideal typical divisions of labour: male breadwinner, caregiver parity, universal breadwinner and universal caregiver. In contrast to the majority of previous studies, the focus of this analysis is on the extent to which leave regulations promote gender equality in the family and the transformation of traditional gender roles. The results of this analysis demonstrate that European countries cluster into five models that only partly coincide with countries' geographical proximity. Secondly, none of the countries considered constitutes a universal caregiver model, while the male breadwinner ideal continues to provide the normative reference point for parental leave regulations in a large number of European states. Finally, we witness a growing emphasis at the national and EU levels concerning the universal breadwinner ideal, which leaves gender inequality in unpaid work unproblematized.

-reprinted from the Journal of European Social Policy