Chiara Saraceno

Family policies and inequalities

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Family policies may have diversified and changing goals, among which contrasting inequalities – either vertical or horizontal or both – may be one, but not the main one. In Italy, family policies are a comparatively small part of social policies; their goals are mixed and sometimes missed by the actual policies set in place, which risk increasing, rather than contrasting inequalities. Thus, the design of child-linked direct and indirect income transfers excludes some of the poor while, in the case of the former disincentiving paid work by low income mothers. Some of the self-employed and precarious workers cannot receive the maternity indemnity and the low parental leave benefit discourages both fathers and low income working mothers from taking it. Childcare services for the under three are scarce and unevenly distributed across the regions, re-enforcing inequalities across social classes as well as across regions. Similar effects may be found also in the area of long-term care. The conclusion discusses possible directions of reform.


  • Work-family conciliation
  • gender arrangements
  • equal opportunities
  • social inequality
  • regional inequalities


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