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By Rina Singh

Rina Singh's publication compares seventeen Western ecu nations within the quarter of women's involvement within the public sphere (participation and rules affecting it) and personal sphere (roles and guidelines affecting it). The interplay among the 2 spheres is analysed to figure out the place nations lie within the strategy in the direction of gender autonomy - finally the power of every intercourse to make unfastened way of life offerings to take part in either or both the private and non-private spheres in a manner that neither penalises nor rewards the alternatives in fabric and/or social phrases. 4 types of gender autonomy are proposed.

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Second, though there is a hierarchical order to the models they are thought of as dynamic, not static, because they shed light on gender autonomy as a process. For example, countries may not always correspond wholly, in every indicator, to a given model, but rather may exhibit associations with other models. Furthermore, the models are not stages within a single linear process towards gender autonomy. Rather, the process towards gender autonomy may be thought of as a matrix: over time, countries may progress or regress, in absolute terms or relative to other countries, and across the board or in specific indicators.

The first indicator covered is maternity benefits, calculated as the length of job security and level of compensation given for childbearing. The second indicator, childcare policies, includes publicly provided childcare services and parental leave benefits. It bears mentioning that maternity benefits and parental leave may serve to reinforce the gendered division of family responsibility, and thereby perpetuate gender segregation and inequality in the labour market. For, if parental leave is taken out solely by the mother, gender inequality in the labour market may be emphasised rather than reduced.

The second indicator, childcare policies, includes publicly provided childcare services and parental leave benefits. It bears mentioning that maternity benefits and parental leave may serve to reinforce the gendered division of family responsibility, and thereby perpetuate gender segregation and inequality in the labour market. For, if parental leave is taken out solely by the mother, gender inequality in the labour market may be emphasised rather than reduced. Therefore, the interaction between maternity benefits and parental leave benefits on the one hand, and publicly provided childcare services on the other hand, is important in terms of whether neutral choice is provided between paid employment and unpaid private responsibilities, or whether private responsibilities and hence traditional gender roles are reinforced.

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