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In all Western countries, women’s activity and employment rates, as well as their education level, have dramatically increased. Nevertheless, men work much longer, men’s wages are still higher than women’s, and women carry on taking major responsibility for caring work as well. Even if the male breadwinner and female carer model has to disappear, several different patterns of paid and unpaid work are still coexisting. But none of them consists in real gender equity of working and caring. Most importantly, attitudes towards gender roles seem to be still very rigid and traditional: if European people agree with the idea that both men and women should contribute to the household income, they disagree with a dual caregiver model because they still strongly believe that mothers are meant to take care of young children. Nevertheless, the dual earner/dual carer model is the only one that promotes gender equity and avoids the trap of employment-centred model. The implementation of this model requires major new programs and policies such as a deep reform in family policies, in working time, a set of employment-enabling services, and to take into account the limits of public and company policies already implemented in some OECD countries.

Dominique Méda
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