Project A06 (2022-2025)

Pathways to Family Policy Universalism: Coverage and Generosity of Family Policies in a Global Perspective

Project A06 will examine the development of universalistic family policies on a global scale: Where, when and how has the inclusion of all families and an orientation towards the norm of gender justice and social justice been achieved? What socio-economic and demographic conditions as well as competing conceptions of societal order lead to alternative forms of family policy?

We will supplement the global data already collected on child benefits, maternity leave and public childcare institutions with information on the coverage of the respective benefit systems in order to reconstruct patterns of inclusion of diverse groups in society. In particular, the focus will be on the interactions between various instruments of family policy, as well as their relationship to other policy fields, in order to identify pathways as well as dead ends on the way to universalism.

Second, the generosity of family policy benefits will be assessed systematically. The creation of generosity profiles, which make the benefits comparable not only across countries but also between household types and economic situations, serves to identify the stratifying elements of family policy, to identify political objectives, and to lay the foundation for the impact analyses that will be carried out in the third phase of CRC 1342.

Third, in order to explain the resulting historical and geographical differences in the degree of universalism, it is crucial to take a look at a group of actors and ideas that go beyond the usual ‘suspects’ in social policy research and have so far only been considered inadequately, especially in the global context. We refer here to female agency, understood in the broad sense of women acting as shapers of their own living conditions on a civil, political, and cultural level. The international women's movement, especially since its institutionalization in the United Nations system, plays a special role as a channel for the diffusion of guiding principles of family policy models.