Changing family - changing family policies
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This article presents the findings of a qualitative research project which aimed to map the political evaluations and the social effects of the changing concept of family and the changing forms of family life. By interviewing political and economic decision-makers we intended to highlight the goals and the motives of the different family policy approaches, the characteristic features of the family concepts reflected by the policy-makers' decisions, as well as the relationship between state family policies and labor market policies on the one hand, and equal treatment expectations concerning both genders, on the other. On the basis of interviews conducted with ordinary people we examined how much people's lives are practically influenced by the family policy measures introduced by the political and the economic decision makers. According to our findings the two different categories of respondents saw specific family policy issues in different ways - their interpretations of family policy as a whole, however, were rather convergent. The importance of providing equal opportunities for men and women, increasing the female employment rate, acknowledging the plurality of family lifestyles, reconciling work and family life - being European expectations as well as conditions of a satisfactory life - seemed to be overshadowed by the demographic issues of fertility and procreation.
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