The Politics of Europeanisation Patterns of German Work and Family Life Reconciliation Policy


Kazanoğlu N.

German Politics, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume:
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/09644008.2021.1886276
  • Title of Journal : German Politics

Abstract

© 2021 Association for the Study of German Politics.With the dramatic changes in the extent to which women and men contribute to unpaid domestic work and paid employment, work and family life reconciliation (WFLR) has become one of the most pressing policy and political subjects across Europe but especially at the European Union (EU) (Drew, Eileen. 1998. “Re-Conceptualising Families.” In Women, Work and the Family in Europe, edited by E. Drew, R. Emerek, and E. Mahon, 11–27. London: Routledge). From the 1980s onwards, the EU has prepared numerous strategies, formulated a range of goals and targets, drafted legislation and introduced various initiatives and roadmaps regarding the reconciliation of work and family life. However, with decision making around social policy, including WFLR policies, remaining under the domain of national competence of member and candidate states; the impact of all this attention at EU level on these issues has had varied impact on domestic policy. Therefore, there remains considerable variation between countries in transferring and implementing EU standards, mostly stemming from the existence of national domestic actors with differing views on Europeanising the domestic WFLR model. This article thus endeavours to examine the Europeanisation patterns of WFLR policies of a founding member country, Germany, over the last decade, with a particular emphasis on intervening domestic actors. Relying on an extensive review of the related literature and policy documents, together with personal interviews with EU representatives and German policy makers, this article asserts that adaptational pressure coming from the EU did not result in policy change in Germany. Differing gender ideologies of political actors and their contributions to the process have had a considerable influence on shaping policy outcomes. In particular, due to a relatively conservative outlook within the German government, the actions undertaken towards Europeanising the German WFLR model remain incomplete and contradictory. This adds to the view that Europeanisation is a two-fold process, which comprises both the push from the EU and the pull by the domestic actors.