Woman and Society

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WOMEN AND SOCIETY

MOTHERHOOD, COMPARISON OF DIFFERENT CULTURES
Seminar Paper

Presented to
Mrs Kitty Triest

Work done by
Sarah-Jeanne Dubé Mercure
Clara Garcìa Vidal
Manar Ben Massoud
Joris Maurelet
Maria Zepou

The Hague University of Applied Sciences
European Studies
November 2nd 2012

Table of Contents

1. Laws and programs
2.1. Public programs for maternity and parental leave for women and men 2.2. Public programs for kindergarten

2. Consequences of having a child for women in society
3.3. Consequences for women’s careers
3.4. Discrimination at work and economic consequences; economic dependence 3.5.

Women and motherhood, comparison of different cultures

Give birth to children, be available for loving, feed, heal and educate them appear to have been for a long time the only real social contributions expected from women. It was their only identity. Religions, cultures, family, and politic have valued family life as a woman's primary role, while neglecting to consider their role in the public sphere. Women have always been subject to this division and have suffered the consequences. Those ideologies were reinforcing the exclusion of women in society and were justifying economic dependence. Over the years, the traditions, rules, and norms have defined maternal function differently. At different times in history, women rebelled against that unique model of femininity that societies were offering them. This evolution is still relevant. Even today, gender equality is still not achieved in developed countries. Our aim will be to study the various laws and programs that exist in different countries. We will conclude by examining the gender discrimination that persists in these countries in relation to motherhood.

1. Laws and programs
Maternity is the period during pregnancy and shortly after childbirth (Oxford Dictionary, 2012). According to the Eurofound Council, a maternity leave is a period of time taken off work by an expectant mother to cover the birth of her child, and this may be with pay (Council Directive 92/85/EEC) and a parental leave is an individual right to leave for men and women workers on the grounds of the birth or adoption of a child to enable them to take care of that child (European Council Directive 96/34/EC of 3 June 1996).

1.1. Public programs for maternity and parental leave for women and men According to our research, in each country, ministries or public institutions dealing with this specific scope of legislation usually implement public programs respecting maternity in honor of a fundamental law of equality.

The law often considers maternity leave to be permissible when a woman gives birth. Maternity leave is given to prepare to deliver the child and to care for it during the first weeks of its life. It generally lasts from 10 to 16 weeks, depending on the country. Some countries also consider a paternity permit for the father on the basis of equality and him sharing the responsibility of being a parent (e. g. Morocco, Canada, Spain and France). Its length notably varies from days to weeks among the countries analyzed.

Some countries also contemplate a parental leave or absence of work of up to 3 years (e. g Canada, France, and Spain). Other countries (e. g Spain) as well as more flexible companies offer supplementary possibilities, such as a reduction of working hours and changes to one's vacation period or working day flexibility.

In Québec (Canada), the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan, in which both parents have the option of taking a working permit, allows for paternal and maternal care. Spain and France have many resemblances, such as the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, and the Ministry of Social Business and Health, all of which support public programs and laws for maternity.

In Spain, family and childhood programs and plans help parents, and especially women, reconcile...
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