Child Care and Feminism in West Germany and Sweden in the 1960s and 1970s
Title: Child Care and Feminism in West Germany and Sweden in the 1960s and 1970s
Author: NAUMANN, Ingela
Publisher: Sage Publications Ltd
Citation: Journal of European Social Policy, 2005, 15, 1, 47-63
Feminist welfare-state research has repeatedly pointed to the link between women's social rights and the extent to which they are freed from family obligations. Thus the availability of sufficient extra-familial child care in order to combine work and family life should be a central claim of women activists. Swedish child-care politics of the 1960s and 1970s reflects this logic well: Swedish feminists lobbied intensely for the expansion of public child care. In West Germany, however, second-wave feminists made no major demand for child-care services: German feminist politics does not fit with the assumptions about women's interests underlying most feminist research on welfare states. Rather than assuming a fixed set of women's interests, this paper argues for a dynamic and contextualizing approach to women's collective agency in modern welfare states. It is argued that national variations in feminist politics concerning women's social rights are the result of differences in women's collective identity formation and their reactions to historically specific political and discursive opportunity structures.
Subject: child care; collective identity formation; gender-regime theory; opportunity structures; women's movements
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