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Beyond the ‘train-first’/‘work-first’ dichotomy: How welfare states help or hinder maternal employment

Beyond the ‘train-first’/‘work-first’ dichotomy: How welfare states help or hinder maternal employment
Beyond the ‘train-first’/‘work-first’ dichotomy: How welfare states help or hinder maternal employment
Since the mid-1990s, welfare states have introduced various ‘activation’ policies designed to promote employment. Most typologies distinguish between a Nordic-style ‘train-first’ approach focused on developing jobseekers’ employability, and an Anglo-Saxon ‘work-first’ approach that emphasises quick job (re-)entry. These typologies tell us what activation means for the unemployed (male) worker. But by ignoring the family, they overlook what activation means for the (female) parent-worker with childcare responsibilities. To contribute to filling this gap, this article uses fuzzy-set ideal type analysis to compare twenty-two countries representing five ‘worlds’ of welfare by how (de-)activating their labour market policies, parental leave provisions, childcare services and the scheduling of primary education are for lone mothers. It reveals that cross-national variations in support for maternal activation are not well captured by the Nordic-style ‘train-first’/Anglo-Saxon ‘work-first’ dichotomy. Hence, despite the greater attention to gender and ‘new social risks’ within comparative social policy scholarship, the activation literature remains gender-blind.
0958-9287
1-22
Kowalewska, Helen
2b6dca95-8312-4eee-b13b-850eca1b9a32
Kowalewska, Helen
2b6dca95-8312-4eee-b13b-850eca1b9a32

Kowalewska, Helen (2016) Beyond the ‘train-first’/‘work-first’ dichotomy: How welfare states help or hinder maternal employment. Journal of European Social Policy, 27 (1), 1-22. (doi:10.1177/0958928716673316).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Since the mid-1990s, welfare states have introduced various ‘activation’ policies designed to promote employment. Most typologies distinguish between a Nordic-style ‘train-first’ approach focused on developing jobseekers’ employability, and an Anglo-Saxon ‘work-first’ approach that emphasises quick job (re-)entry. These typologies tell us what activation means for the unemployed (male) worker. But by ignoring the family, they overlook what activation means for the (female) parent-worker with childcare responsibilities. To contribute to filling this gap, this article uses fuzzy-set ideal type analysis to compare twenty-two countries representing five ‘worlds’ of welfare by how (de-)activating their labour market policies, parental leave provisions, childcare services and the scheduling of primary education are for lone mothers. It reveals that cross-national variations in support for maternal activation are not well captured by the Nordic-style ‘train-first’/Anglo-Saxon ‘work-first’ dichotomy. Hence, despite the greater attention to gender and ‘new social risks’ within comparative social policy scholarship, the activation literature remains gender-blind.

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Accepted/In Press date: 15 July 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 27 October 2016
Published date: 27 October 2016
Additional Information: ESPAnet/JESP Doctoral Researcher Prize Essay 2016
Organisations: Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 398119
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/398119
ISSN: 0958-9287
PURE UUID: 946c51db-dcd9-40fa-8199-9fcff9576244
ORCID for Helen Kowalewska: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7991-5371

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Date deposited: 19 Jul 2016 10:38
Last modified: 08 May 2019 00:20

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