By focusing on childcare and systematically comparing national experiences in Belgium, France, Italy, Sweden, and the European Union, Who Cares? provides detailed information on recent social policies and a clear perspective on welfare state redesign. Many countries have now designed childcare policies to reconcile family and work. Some encourage parents to provide their own childcare by granting parental leave; others encourage parents to stay at work by supporting childcare services. Using the case of childcare policy, the contributors to this volume examine how public policy choices over the last three decades have been fashioned by specific understandings of the gendered division of labour.
The authors of the country studies analyse specific childcare strategies and place them within the larger context of state approaches to women's roles. They argue that an examination of the direction and the form of social spending, in this period when such spending is under attack, contributes to our understanding of new principles of citizenship as they have been developed and articulated by governments.
Who Cares? highlights the connection between childcare and employment, and makes a significant contribution to the literature on citizenship and women's work.