The work-family policies of Sweden and France are often held up as models for other nations to follow, yet political structures and resources can present obstacles to fundamental change that must be taken into account. Patricia Boling argues that we need to think realistically about how to create political and policy change in this vital area. She evaluates policy approaches in the US, France, Germany and Japan, analyzing their policy histories, power resources, and political institutions to explain their approaches, and to propose realistic trajectories toward change. Arguing that much of the story lies in the way that job markets are structured, Boling shows that when women have reasonable chances of resuming their careers after giving birth, they are more likely to have children than in countries where even brief breaks put an end to a career, or where motherhood restricts them to part-time work.
Table of Contents
Preface; 1. Why work-family policies matter, and how best to study them; 2. Demographic and policy trends in OECD countries; 3. Familialist policies in France; 4. Germany enacts change; 5. Japan confronts low fertility and rapid aging; 6. The US relies on families and markets; 7. Evaluating work-family policies; 8. Why the US can't be Sweden.