Political motherhood and the everyday experience of mothering : a comparison of the child care strategies of French and British working mothers

Article English OPEN
Windebank, J. (1999)
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

In contrast to the majority of research on the relationship between women and the state which bases its findings on nationally aggregated data and concentrates its analysis on the forces which shape national policy concerning gender, this article adopts a micro-social approach to this question. Based on the findings from an in-depth qualitative cross-national study of the child care strategies of 112 mothers working in secretarial or clerical occupations in two countries with very different configurations of ‘political motherhood’, namely, France and Britain, the article assesses the impact of these varying policy environments on the construction of mothering in the everyday lives of employed women.\ud \ud It finds that different configurations of political motherhood have a significant impact on the practical aspects of these women's child care strategies but less impact on their fundamental conceptions of the duties and responsibilities of mothering. It concludes by considering the significance of these findings for current debates concerning the role of the state in perpetuating or combating unequal gender relations.
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