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By focussing on child care and systematically comparing national experiences in Belgium, France, Italy, Sweden, and the European Union, Who Cares? provides an enormous amount of information on recent child care policies and a clear perspective on thinking about welfare state redesign. Many countries have now designed child care policies 'to reconcile family and work.' Some encourage parents to provide their own child care by granting parental leave; others encourage parents to stay at work by supporting child care services. Using the case of child care policy, the contributors to this volume examine how public policy choices over the last three decades have been fashioned by specific understandings of the gendered division of labour.
The authors of the country studies have done an excellent job of recounting the details of child care strategies, and placing them within the larger context of state approaches to women's roles. They argue that an examination of the direction and the form of spending, in this period when social spending is under attack, contributes to our understanding of new principles of citizenship as they have been developed and articulated by governments.
Who Cares? highlights the connection between child care and employment, and makes a significant contribution to the literature on citizenship and women's work.