CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

The objective of this article is to evaluate the pertinence of measures aimed at articulating family life and professional life in France and in Sweden by particularly examining their impact on women’s jobs. In order to compare the impacts of family policy, we first examine institutional structures of both countries in terms of parental leave and childcare for the very young. We then present a statistical comparative analysis of part time and its influence on professional segregation. In France, mothers’ recourse to part time work is mostly a consequence of the structure of the labor market. In Sweden, part time work seems to be chosen whereas in actual fact, articulating family and professional lives makes it inevitable. Part time work creates pernicious obstacles to mothers’ access to certain professions, mothers being far more concentrated in feminized professions than French mothers. Thus, the Swedish model does facilitate mothers’ employment, but it has its flaws: as long as parental leave will be granted to mothers only, it will trigger professional inequality between men and women.


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