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Shifting worlds of father politics? Comparing path-departing change in paternity and parental leave policy in Germany and the UK

Mohun Himmelweit, Sam (2023) Shifting worlds of father politics? Comparing path-departing change in paternity and parental leave policy in Germany and the UK. Journal of Family Studies, 29 (6). pp. 2556-2575. ISSN 1322-9400

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13229400.2023.2179529

Abstract

How families balance employment and the care of young children has become a focus of dynamic policy change in many high-income countries since the 1990s. While there has been a broad shift across the OECD away from male-breadwinner model work-family policy regimes, there is much variation in the extent to which policies targeted at fathers have been part of these changes. Seeking to examine this variation, this article compares two cases which both represent ‘late path shifters’ away from the male-breadwinner family model, yet whose trajectory in terms of ‘father politics’ are very different: Germany, which has adopted Swedish-style non-transferable periods of leave for fathers, and the UK, where leave policy has remained overwhelmingly focused on mothers. This article seeks to explain these different trajectories through an analysis of the role of ideas in the two processes of reform. Drawing on documentary analysis and interviews with policymakers, it argues that ideas about the role of fathers shifted substantially in Germany during the period of reform, while they did not in the UK. This difference is explained with reference to the political conditions which created similar but different windows of opportunity for change in the two countries, as well as the impact of existing policy legacies.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2023 The Author.
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences
Date Deposited: 13 Feb 2023 16:06
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2024 17:09
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/118162

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