CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

French family policy has been built around a model which promotes the dividing up of roles between men and women. This model is the product of a set-up which has been in place since the nineteenth century and which was taken up again in 1945 as part of a general policy of social security protecting “the worker and his family against all kinds of risks”, including the costs of maternity and family life. Ideological trends, philosophical traditions and intellectual oppositions have pervaded and continue to pervade a family policy that is highly ambiguous in the sense that women have been and still are issued with contradictory requirements. Increasingly family-orientated rights have resulted in the protection of mothers, the exclusion of women from the employment market, and... low pensions.
The affirmation of the principle of sexual equality in all areas of life, both on a national level since 1946 and in international law, should have called this model into question. This was not the case, and women’s pensions demonstrate the consequences. “Seemingly neutral” measures are not enough to guarantee a more democratic family model, and one result of sexual equality must henceforth be the conciliation or joining-up of family life and professional life, but in the way defined by international law.

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