Institute of Sociology

State and company-level work-family reconciliation policies and maternal employment. An analysis from a capability approach perspective

Project team: Dr. Anna Kurowska, Institute of Social Policy, University of Warsaw, Prof. Dr. Kerstin Pull, Dr. Jasmin Joeksch and Prof. Dr. Pia Schober, University of Tübingen

Funding body: German Research Foundation (DFG)


Inconsistent results of previous research on the impact of public policies on maternal employment as well as large unexplained variance in maternal employment patterns call for alternative explanations. A recently growing body of literature has theoretically highlighted the importance of the cultural context for maternal work engagement. Nevertheless, there is scarcity of studies which analyse the interdependence between different aspects of cultural context and the impact of public policies, as well as company work-family reconciliation policies on maternal employment. In our project we draw on an adaptation of Amartya Sen’s Capability Approach to comparative analysis of family policies (Kurowska 2016). We conceptualize and empirically examine the relationships between different means designed for work-family reconciliation and the observed work engagement of mothers and take-up of different types of childcare, with a particular focus on the role of cultural context drawing on contextual variations between Poland, West Germany and East Germany.