Chair: Dr. Gretchen Ritter, Director, Center for Women's and Gender Studies and Assoc. Professor of Government
Presenters: Dr. Janet Gornick, Political Science, Baruch College, CUNY, and Director of the Luxembourg Income Study Dr. Pamela Herd, Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison Ms. Ann Linde, International Secretary of the Swedish Social Democratic Party
Discussants: Dr. Cynthia Osborne, LBJ School, UT Austin Dr. Gretchen Ritter, CWGS and Gov't Dept, UT A
How well do the social policy models of Europe and the US promote gender equity? Some scholars have suggested that the American social model is better at removing barriers to achievement and participation at an individual level, while the Europeans have done better at promoting social equality through their attention to the welfare of groups and not just individuals. In the US, more women may be able to rise to the top economically, while in Europe, more women may be kept from sinking to the bottom economically. Is it fair to say that well educated middle class American women are more likely to succeed as individuals in the private economy while women in much of Europe fair better in balancing work and family obligations, and at having family obligations recognized as matters that require public support? Is it also true that European social policies which support the family reinforce gender inequality in other ways by casting women in a more domestic role? What are we to make of the contrast between the way that marriage is tied to social policy recognition and support in the US and Europe? Finally, to what degree do social policies aimed at supporting women and families inadvertently create other forms of social inequity - along the lines of race, class, immigration status, and parental status?