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The Costs of Children

Parenting and Democracy in Contemporary Europe Edited by David G. Mayes, Professor of Banking and Financial Institutions, Director, Europe Institute and Director, NZ Governance Centre, University of Auckland, New Zealand and Mark Thomson, Research Fellow, Europe Institute, The University of Auckland, New Zealand
The expert contributors provide an assessment of how countries can handle the fair allocation of the costs of childcare. They look at the experience within Europe in recent years and show in particular how these interrelate with the objectives of improving income, employment and social inclusion. The book’s conclusion reveals that choice is the key ingredient as families have different views and different degrees of support available from their relatives. Income and social inclusion can provide choice but ironically employment does not always. An employment-based model can sometimes narrow people’s choices, particularly for people on low wages. The major concern is that most existing systems effectively discriminate against mothers.
Extent: 304 pp
Hardback Price: £85.00 Web: £76.50
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 978 1 78100 236 0
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  • Development Studies
  • Development Studies
  • Family and Gender Policy
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Comparative Social Policy
  • Family and Gender Policy
This informative book explores the fair allocation of the costs of childcare in European countries and suggests that greater choice is required to reduce the current tendency to discriminate against mothers.

The expert contributors provide an assessment of how countries can handle the fair allocation of the costs of childcare. They look at the experience within Europe in recent years and show in particular how these interrelate with the objectives of improving income, employment and social inclusion. The book’s conclusion reveals that choice is the key ingredient as families have different views and different degrees of support available from their relatives. Income and social inclusion can provide choice but ironically employment does not always. An employment-based model can sometimes narrow people’s choices, particularly for people on low wages. The major concern is that most existing systems effectively discriminate against mothers.

This is the first book to consider the democratic implications of social welfare systems. It provides an up-to-date assessment of the pressures on parents in deciding how to raise their children under restricted incomes. For many families, practical decisions about childcare are found at a local level. These will depend on the immediate factors that affect them, such as the availability of local nurseries or a family's ability to draw on voluntary networks of support. What is clear, however, is that many of these arrangements discriminate against women. Researchers and practitioners in the field of social policy and childcare in particular will find this book insightful. Graduate students of social policy will also find some practical examples to make their courses more relevant.
‘Finally, here is a book that provides a long-overdue holistic analysis of childcare. Written in a clear style, The Costs of Children breaks new ground in demonstrating how political choices about childcare have different impacts on equality of opportunity in Europe. After reading this book, one never again will view childcare as a private concern. It is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the realities of European integration, democratic policy-making and the gendered consequences of bearing and rearing children.’
– Yvonne Galligan, Queen’s University Belfast, UK
Contributors: I. Casier, M. De Metsenaere, R. Dennison, A.L. Ellingsæter, S. Kanji, A. Leira, K. Majamaa, D.G. Mayes, M. McHugh, J. Plantenga, K. Scheiwe, N. Smith, M. Thomson, R. Vajda, E. Van den Brandt, A. Woodward
Contents:

Preface

1. Introduction: Childcare and Democracy in the EU
David G. Mayes and Mark Thomson

2. Social Regimes and Gender Equality: Childcare in the EU
Mark Thomson

3. Valuation of Children and Childcare
Arnlaug Leira

4. Childcare Politics and the Norwegian Fertility ‘Machine’
Anne Lise Ellingsæter

5. A Market for Childcare Services? Private Provision and Public Finance in the Dutch Childcare Sector
Janneke Plantenga

6. The Impact of Childcare Costs for Northern Irish Females
Rachel Dennison and Nora Smith

7. What Stops Lone Mothers from Working? Insights from the UK’s Millennium Cohort Study
Shireen Kanji

8. The Costs of Caring for Children Before and After Divorce: Contradictory Legal Messages and their Gendered Effects
Kirsten Scheiwe

9. Out of the Frying Pan, into the Fire: Hungarian Parental Leave Policies from a Gender Equality Perspective
Róza Vajda

10. Childcare as Intergenerational Support
Karoliina Majamaa

11. Costs and Consequences for Carers of Vulnerable Children in Australia
Marilyn McHugh

12. High-qualified Women and the Gendered Division of Domestic Labour: An Exploratory Analysis from the Field of Photonics
Ineke Casier, Alison Woodward, Machteld De Metsenaere and Elke Van den Brandt

13. Redistributing the Costs of Childcare and its Democratic Implications
David G. Mayes and Mark Thomson

Index