Work-family policies and poverty for partnered and single women in Europe
and North America
Gender and Society, 21:6, 804–827 (2007)
Work—family policy strategies reflect gendered assumptions about the roles of men and women within families and therefore may lead to significantly different outcomes, particularly for families headed by single mothers. The authors argue that welfare states have adopted strategies based on different assumptions about women´s and men´s roles in society, which then affect women´s chances of living in poverty cross-nationally. The authors examine how various strategies are associated with poverty rates across groups of women and also examine more directly the effects of specific work—family policies on poverty rates. They find that while family benefits and child care for young children unequivocally lower poverty rates, particularly for families headed by a single mother, long parental leaves have more ambivalent effects. The findings suggest that it is critical to examine the gendered assumptions underlying work—family policies rather than viewing all work—family policies as the same.