Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


The overall aim of the thematic network "Working and Mothering. Social Practices and Social Policies" was to establish new knowledge about constraints and incentives to reconcile working and mothering in the context of available supports and policy infrastructure. The focus of research was mainly on working mothers as they usually still face the main burden of balancing care and work. By exploring women's strategies and decisions on an everyday level research also touched on how today's couples share or divide care and work. Furthermore, our investigation into the impact of policies upon working mothers was taken to add new perspectives to policy research, which forms a second objective of the network.
Our research is located within the broader conceptual framework of social inclusion and exclusion. It departs from the assumption that women�s integration into the labour market is a key to achieving more equitable opportunities both in public and in private life. Against this background, the network explored to what extent welfare states contribute to gender equality. Care and work-related social policies were considered to be important means to create incentives for more equal opportunities in the labour market and a fairer distribution of care and work responsibilities. Yet, they are only one factor when dealing with the issue of care and work, and, what is even more striking, we have hardly any knowledge of how social policies actually affect social practices and choices of individuals or families. For this reason the network took everyday practices of working others into account: The research group looked at the costs and benefits that are involved in working for mothers from different social backgrounds. We investigated the set of public or private resources that women use in order to combine professional and family live.

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