UW News

April 22, 2010

Reception April 26 for two new books on gender equity and public policy

The books are Gender Equality: Transforming Family Divisions of Labor and Gendered Tradeoffs: Family, Social Policy and Economic Inequality in Twenty-one Countries. The authors of the former are Marcia K. Meyers, a professor of social work and public affairs at the UW; and Janet C. Gornick, a professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center at City University of New York. The authors of the latter are Becky Pettit, associate professor of sociology at the UW; and Jennifer L. Hook, a research scientist at Partners for our Children in the UW School of Social Work.

In Gender Equality, which is Volume VI in the Real Utopias series, Gornick and Meyers propose a set of policies — paid family leave provisions, working time regulations, and early childhood education and care — designed to foster more egalitarian family divisions of labor by strengthening men’s ties at home and women’s attachment to paid work. Their policy proposal is followed by a series of commentaries — both critical and supportive — from a group of distinguished scholars, and a concluding essay in which Gornick and Meyers respond to the debate.

Gendered Tradeoffs looks at levels of women’s employment, number of hours worked, occupational integration, and wage equality in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom, Czech Republic, Canada, Australia, Austria, Russian Federation, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Germany, Slovenia, Hungary, Belgium, Poland, Italy, Spain and the United States. The statistics show that there are vast differences in women’s economic fortunes in these countries and in no one country do women do well on all measures of equality. Policies governing gender equality and inclusion in the workplace vary drastically in these countries, and the authors contend that in order to understand gender inequality in the workplace it is necessary to consider how a nation’s family policies affect the division of household labor.

Sponsored by the West Coast Poverty Center, Women Studies, the Department of Sociology, the School of Social Work, the Center for the Study of Demography and Ecology and Partners for our children, the reception will include author remarks and refreshments. It is free and open to the public.