Analysing gender equality in EU’s work-life balance policy: -What is the problem represented to be?

Detta är en Magister-uppsats från Örebro universitet/Institutionen för humaniora, utbildnings- och samhällsvetenskap

Sammanfattning: This thesis focuses on work-life balance policy; one of the key field of EU gender equality policies. The purpose of this study was to analyze most recently proposed policy on work-life balance ‘An initiative to support work-life balance for working parents and carers’ that aims to upgrade existing policy and legal frameworks. The main objective of the study is to identify problem representation(s) of gender equality in the stated policy. The study objectives comprises of problematizing identified problem representation(s) by drawing attention to silences and underplayed issues including its far-reaching implications on various groups. Analysis presented in this thesis is guided by theoretical framework of poststuructural feminism chiefly through discourse analysis methodology. In that endeavor, Carol Bacchi’s ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’ (WPR) approach has been applied for discourse analysis of the policy by employing 3 out 6 postulated questions. The study identifies several problem representations of gender equality in the stated EU reconciliation policy. Among others, childcare responsibility is identified as the most dominant problem representation. Likewise, the study points out silenced issues in the policy. This includes structural challenges affecting accessibility and advancement of women in labour market, the type of work, division of unpaid work besides caring responsibilities, inequalities engendered by intersectional factors, well-being of individuals, family, children, elderly care and commitment from employing organizations. The study finally notes ensuing lived effects on women due to added responsibilities. The study analysis concludes some still present pitfalls in the modernized work-life balance policy.

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