Familjen i välfärdspolitiken
The role of the family in Swedish welfare policy
In the present article, I discuss the role of the family in Swedish welfare policy, from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. I analyse men’s and women’s time use and focus on the organization of paid and unpaid work. I describe how time allocation varies with gender, family status, and life cycle. The analysis shows that the family plays a more important role in practice than in theory, mainly through the fact that women perform more unpaid work (housework and caregiving) than men, which affects both their income and their well-being negatively. I argue that gender equality must be given a more prominent position in Swedish welfare policy. For example, family policy must be reformed, with gender equality on the labour market and in the home as an explicit goal. The present situation for working parents is different from that of previous decades when Swedish family policy was formulated. Reforms are thus necessary for safeguarding welfare and population well-being in the short and long run.