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Parental leave policies in the UK: an intersectional analysis of policy development and use

Parental leave policies in the UK: an intersectional analysis of policy development and use

Objective

Parental leave is a popular topic that has been the subject of much parliamentary debate, news articles and scholarly examination. The scholarship on parental leave has revealed that despite the stated intentions of policy-makers, parental leave has not always had positive impacts on women’s ability to return to the workforce and is not widely used by fathers, perpetuating the idea that mothers are best suited to the work of raising children. Given the importance of the work of child-raising, how can parental leave be organised in a way that benefits mothers, fathers, children and broader society? These questions can only be answered by the critical examination of existing policies, including its most recent changes, and interviews with parents’ use of leave. This examination must acknowledge the ways that gender, race and social class influence how such policies are developed and how parents use leave, particularly as policies and parents’ use of leave reflect widely held beliefs about what ‘good’ parenting looks like. Scholarship on parental leave has begun to address some of these questions, considering how parental leave impacts on breastfeeding rates, women’s working patterns and fathers’ involvement in childrearing but this scholarship has not done enough to critically consider how gender and race and class influence these factors. Unpicking the racial and class ideologies that shape socially constructed notions of ‘good’ parenthood, and ‘good’ motherhood, in particular, will help to shift the way we approach parental leave policy-making and perhaps other, related parenting policies. This work of considering race, gender and class is a necessary intervention in the study of parenting culture more broadly, which has not given sufficient attention to these ideas in analyses of ‘good’ parenting. This research will make an important contribution to this emerging field of parenting culture studies and to British policy-making in the field of parenting.
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Coordinator

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

Address

Gower Street
Wc1e 6bt London

United Kingdom

Activity type

Higher or Secondary Education Establishments

EU Contribution

€ 224 933,76

Project information

Grant agreement ID: 838816

Status

Grant agreement signed

  • Start date

    1 February 2020

  • End date

    31 January 2022

Funded under:

H2020-EU.1.3.2.

  • Overall budget:

    € 224 933,76

  • EU contribution

    € 224 933,76

Coordinated by:

UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON

United Kingdom