Family policies and the protection of children An-Magritt Jensen, professor, Dept. of Sociology and Political Science, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Norway Session 105: European Population Day
Major issues of child welfare • Relative high fertility • Instable family patterns • Relative high employment among mothers
Child-work balance – policy options: Norway Expansion of parental benefits in a favourable economic climate: • Child care • Parental leaves Child-work balance more easy than most countries
Clashing ideals and realities Ideals: Time for children and time for work Gender equality Ensuring children’s economic welfare Realities: Only mothers adjust work to children Feminization of childhood Increasing gaps between men and children
Children’s welfare depend on two parental incomes • Childpoverty is high: • in countries with traditional families and only father’s income (Italy), • and in modern families and only mother’s income (UK). • Child poverty modified by welfare states (Scandinavia), • But across Europe mother’s income – in addition to father’s – is the most important factor safeguarding children from poverty.
The growing gap between men and children. Norway Childlessness and family structure: • 22 per cent men are childless at age 40 (13 per cent women). • 40 per cent of men are not social fathers at age 40. • 20 years ago, the figure was 25 per cent.
Children’s welfare and ageing Europe. COST A19-publication. • Economic welfare • Social welfare • Cultural perceptions of children http://www.svt.ntnu. no/noseb/costa19/
The clash between market society and fertility • The squeeze between economy and care is traced in the gender differences in parenthood. • Childhood is feminized in everyday life, while fatherhood is celebrated in public discourse. • The ageing European population is a powerful indication of the declining significance of children and childhood in modern societies.