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What Has Gender Equality Got to Do with It?: An Analysis of Policy Debates Surrounding Domestic Services in the Welfare States of Spain and Sweden
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå Centre for Gender Studies (UCGS).
Departamento de Ciencia Poliacutetica y Administracioacuten II, Fac. CC Poliacuteticas y Sociologiacutea, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.
2010 (English)In: Nora: Nordic Journal of Women's Studies, ISSN 0803-8740, E-ISSN 1502-394X, Vol. 18, no 3, 185-203 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

As more and more political institutions stress the significance of gender equalitypolicies, it becomes important to investigate the different interpretations and meanings attached tothe concept of gender equality in diverse policy contexts. In this article we are interested inproblematizing visions of gender equality by studying the challenges that the growing amount ofpaid domestic work performed within European households poses for gender equality policies andpractices in two European countries. The aim is to reveal normative assumptions and silences inrelation to gender equality by comparing how “paid domestic work” has been framed in policydebates in Sweden and Spain. As welfare states, Sweden and Spain are generally considered to bevery different, and in policies on care for children and the elderly the differences are perhaps mostapparent. In both countries, however, paid domestic work in the home has become more and morecommon in the last two decades. The rise of paid domestic services in European households hasbeen interpreted as due to the limitations or decline of welfare states, the ageing populations, andthe increasing numbers of dual-earner families. These services are most often provided by women,predominantly of immigrant background, and involve a wide range of tasks, including care work.The phenomenon of an increasing sector of domestic (care) work poses a theoretical andmethodological challenge to gender and welfare studies. This article argues that the analysis ofdebates surrounding domestic service in private households is a useful starting-point for anintersectional analysis by means of revealing the normative assumptions and marginalizationembedded in gender equality policies. It uses a comparative frame analysis in combination withintersectional analysis to assess how interactions between gender, class, race, and sexuality havebeen articulated in the policy debates on domestic services in Spain and Sweden.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Routledge , 2010. Vol. 18, no 3, 185-203 p.
Keyword [en]
gender equality, gender, welfare states, domestic work, domestic services, Spain, Sweden
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Sociology; statskunskap
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-35194DOI: 10.1080/08038740.2010.498326OAI: diva2:337707
European Commission’s sixth framework programme, QUING- Quality in Gender + Equality
Available from: 2010-08-13 Created: 2010-08-09 Last updated: 2010-08-13Bibliographically approved

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