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The Nordic countries share a model of family policy based on a specific conception of solidarity, gender equality, and children’s education. The article first explores the origins of this shared family policy by considering the thought of its two main inspirations, the Myrdals. It shows how the policy was related to social democratic values and to questions of population and employment. A presentation follows of the three main pillars of childcare and family policy: family allowances, parental leave and childcare facilities. These three pillars serve common goals of solidarity and redistribution between families, support for working mothers as a contribution to gender equality, and child development. Direct support to families and support for reconciliation of work and family life are the two major planks, designed to contribute to the development of a welfare society. Finally, the article examines the capacity of the model to resist the assaults of economic recession and family transformations, which have affected the countries of Northern Europe since the 1990s. Subsequent changes are analysed with a view to assessing the durability of the model.

Marie-Thérèse Letablier
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