Freedom of choice, gender equality, or employment promotion? Finnish party positions on childcare in the light of election manifestos 2015

A1 Journal article (refereed)


Internal Authors/Editors


Publication Details

List of Authors: Josefine Nyby, Mikael Nygård, Janne Autto, Mikko Kuisma
Publisher: Routledge
Publication year: 2017
Journal: Journal of Social Welfare and Family Law
Volume number: 39
Issue number: 3
Start page: 279
End page: 297
eISSN: 1469-9621


Abstract

The principle of freedom of choice in childcare
matters has been a central element of Finnish family policy since the 1980s and
is something that makes the country unique in an international comparison. One
the one hand this principle has been manifested as a legislated right for
parents, notably mothers, to choose paid work supported by the use of public
childcare. On the other hand it has also given parents with children under
three the right to stay home with their children and to receive a child home
care allowance during this period. This dualism has been widely popular among
parents and has also been seen by most leading parties as something that is
good for families. However, since the outbreak of the international financial
crisis, this system has faced increasing critique from some experts and
politicians, which has made the principle of freedom of choice, and especially
the child home care allowance/leave, susceptible to renegotiation. This article
investigates how the principle of freedom of choice was politicized by eight
leading parties during the Finnish parliamentary election campaign in 2015,
through an analysis of election manifestos. First, we analyse to what extent
this principle was politicized, and by whom? Secondly, we study how the
principle was framed. The findings show that the principle of freedom of choice
was a rather politicized topic, creating a cleavage between conservative and
leftist/liberal parties. Moreover, they indicate a renegotiation of this
principle in favour of higher parental employment promotion and gender
equality.


Keywords

Childcare, Elections, family policy, Finland, political parties

Last updated on 2019-14-11 at 03:28