This study examines Australia's new paid and unpaid parental leave provisions and compares them to recent developments in a number of European countries. Increasingly, gender equity goals have been incorporated in the formulation of the policy approaches within a number of these countries. In recent times the EU has been a powerful driver of incorporating gender equality goals in work and family policy areas.
The study addresses the question of whether, and under what conditions, policies such as the introduction of parental leave have the potential to achieve meaningful shifts in the existing gender order within a society towards a more equal dual earner-carer household structure. It suggests that there are several dimensions to an integrated work/family strategy that are likely to deliver progress towards a more equal gender order.