Different models of Welfare State, work-life balance public policies and gender equality- the case of parental leaves in Portugal and Sweden
Research & Consultancy Unit National Institute for Public Administration Oeiras, Portugal
This paper addresses how different welfare state models - Nordic and Continental / familiaristic (Esping-Andersen, 1990,2002) - may provide different type of work-life balance public policies and impacts on gender equality.
We analyse and compare the work-life balance and gender equality promotion public policies framework and the specific case of parental leave systems, in Sweden and Portugal.
Portugal and Sweden are integrated in different welfare systems based on different responsibilities towards welfare provision. The consistency and gender mainstreaming of social policies are different, so are parental leave systems. In Sweden there is a high and permanent presence of women in the labour market and a significant share of parental leaves between parents. In Portugal, women employment is high but decreases with the number of children and the share of parental leaves between parents is residual.
Different fundaments of welfare provision and family public policies appears to impact on gender equality regarding the share of childcare responsibilities by men and women's and the presence in the labour markets. Nevertheless either in Sweden or in Portugal remains gender inequalities: women are more likely to work part time, face occupational and vertical segregation and gender pay gap. Also are seen as the main care member in the family and they spend more hours on household activities
The results suggest the need of a profound reflection about the fundaments of the provision models of welfare state towards a gender relations framework analyses and inclusion regarding an active role of the state on gender equality promotion.