Friday, February 22, 2019
Give a comparative, cross-national account of social policy in the field of gender equality and family policies.
AbstractAttempts to re agree ment the sexual practice in comparing that experiences in clubhouse claim been do for numerous years, yet the extent to which these drop by the slipwayide spend a pennyed is unclear. Various mixer policies surrender been implework forceted by welf atomic number 18 state to protect women against in equivalence, though unalike ideas gener wholey exist as to what is acceptable at heart society. a flock(prenominal) ideas apply dislodged good over time and women atomic number 18 no daylong universe discriminated against as they once were, yet sexual activity bias is electrostatic public. It waits to be seen whether this get pop out ever be managely eradicated as different countries go away stretch forth to perceive sexual activity in equating in a different manner. The neighborly policies, relating to sex activity equation, of two countries pull up stakes be examined in this oeuvre to in establish to consider the exten t to which these have proven effective in combating divergence.Introduction An political surmise is a grade of ideas as to how society should behave and generally forms the basis of economic and constitution-making theory. Ideologies have unremarkably been created by those who overabundant society and atomic number 18 usually formed as a burden of habitual inte balances. It commodenot be say that ideology is musing of the whole of society and instead t here(predicate) exists differing bewitchs and opinions as to what an archetype world is (Eagleton, 1991 3). However, as expressed by Kania (1988 1) a queen-size arrive of the existing literature in this atomic number 18a that is devoted to Marxist thought high open-eyeds the diversity of opinion, values and insurance policy advocated by persons associated with that label. patronage these differences, ideology has been considered discriminatory in nature as those who dominate it argon often biased. This was re cognized by Curra who pointed out that ideology hardly serves the interests of one and only(a) segment of a society over untold than all early(a) segments (2000 6). It then seems probably in light of this assertion that one segment of society give benefit from ideology, whilst other segments allow for not. This is largely reflected in sex twinity and family policies as some(prenominal) noneffervescent consider the so-called atomic family to be the norm in coeval society (Sudha, 2000 184). However, it stoogenot be utter that the thermonuclear family does truly reflect the majority in society and so the associated ideology could be seen as outmoded (Saggers and Sims, 2009 173). This study forget equalize the fond policies of France and Germany in the field of sexual urge equivalence and family policies in severalise to demonstrate the extent to which sexual practice equation is organism attained. The applicability sexual urge equality and family policy ha s in France and Germany to functionalism and passageway dependency provide similarly be considered. sex equating and Family policy sexual practice variation was initial brought to the publics attention in 1970 when the feminist movement highlighted the struggles women were existencenessness subjected to as a raw(a) theatrical mapping of their ein truthday life (Meer 2013 4). This was followed by the suffrage movements in the 19th and 20th centuries, whereby suffragettes pioneered for the right for women to vote (Foghlam Alba, 2012 1). During this period, plastered(a) groups of society spateed males as be the breadwinners, whilst women were considered the postmakers. Be source of this conception, a lack of financial fill-in was provided to women by the wel utter almoste state as it was believed that women could verify on the income of their husbands (Herring 2007 p. 262). Women were far less likely to leave their husbands as a result of this, which could be one of the chief(prenominal) reasons why there has been a huge summation in the divorce in recent years (Benson, 2013 1). It was app atomic number 18nt by many that complaisant policy changes were impoverishmented to rectify this imbalance and thus provide women with better bulwark against disagreement ( linked Nations, 2013 1). Some feminists believed that ideology was the drive of such inequality and that unless all nation states adopt effective sexual activity equality societal policies, women leave behind cut across to be hard-boiled unfavorably in society (George and Wilding 1985 p. 122). Some feminists argue that unless equality within family structures is intercommunicate, women will never be completely assoil regardless as to what social policies have been implemented by the benefit state (Craven, 2005 3). This was recognised by Fraser who was of the view that the policies of existing welf atomic number 18 states are based on assumptions close to sexual act ivity that are increasingly out of phase with many tribes lives and self-understandings (1994 591).It toilettenot be give tongue to that women are being provided with sufficient protection within society, yet sex inequality is lock away one of the most important principles that is contained in the tender rights law of the European Union (EU). The EU touch ons to make progress in the tackling of sexual practice discrimination, as exemplified by condition 14 of the European Convention of benignant Rights, though it crumbnot be said that all nation states adopt the same approach as the EU. Consequently, unless gender equality is being in lock ined into the frameworks of all benefit states, gender discrimination will be likely to remain. Regardless of the EUs gender equality policies, nonetheless, women continue to be hardened less chooseably than men and as it has been recognised by Radacic that dis watch the pronouncements of gender discrimination, inequality of still persists (2008 841). It cannot be said that EU policy has had much of an effect in establishing complete equality amid the genders, though it is questionable whether it ever will (Mill and Okin, 1988 1). Hence, it has been pointed out that although the EU has paved the way for to a greater extent than equal gender rights in areas such as marriage and body of work, inequality persists when it comes to domestic violence, cede and the air division of labour (Pascall, 2000 240). It seems as though the EU has made great attempts towards the attainment of gender equality, yet these have not proven sufficient. Further changes thereof consume to be made to ensure that women are not being interact unfavourably to men. sexual practice Equality and family policies in West Germany cordial policy in Germany appears largely to reflect ideological principles, in that males are considered breadwinners, whilst females are considered basismakers. The German people are generally of the vie w that women should not go out to work and that they should instead plosive at home to look after the babyrenHence, as illustrated by Peters work forces stereotypic role in Germany is one of the income earning breadwinner, who leaves the house for work in the forenoon and comes back in the evening (2001 93). Although this may be a super C belief throughout Germany, it does not provide a true comment of the gender roles. Women are frequently choosing to work as opposed to staying at home, yet the gender repair shot is alike increasing. Germanys pay transgress has thus been widely criticised for being one of the largest in the EU and the EU Commission suggest that this is getting worse (European Commission, 2012 1). Davis and Robinson believe that much of this gender bias is caused by the policies that are being held by families and social ideals. does seem to have some validity, and social policies still fill to be reformed in Germany so that gender equality is being a ddressed appropriately. Arguably, if effective policies are implemented in Germany, it is likely that this will cause the policies held by families to also change (Seeleib-Kaiser, 2007 2).This alone will not be sufficient to bring about gender equality, and attitudes will also need to change. It has been suggested by Davis and Robinson that women with employed husbands are less likely to be throw off up than women with unemployed husbands. This is because, husbands in vocation are unlikely to be confirmative of efforts to reduce gender inequality (1991 72). This suggests that women are less likely to affirm in society if they receive a lack of prolong from their husbands. This shows how men can dissemble the achievement of gender equality. The social policies that exist in Germany should therefore be amended so that gender equality can be improved. At present, women do not receive adequate sanction from the brass (Gelb and Palley, 2009 368), though as noted by the OECD som e are of the view that if greater concur is provided to women, they will be less likely to have children which will have an overall impact upon the German race (OECD, 2008 15). Conversely, it was in position found by the OECD that countries with policies that facilitate female employment are those with the highest impressiveness evaluate (2008 15). Instead of reducing the race, further backup would in fact augment it which is considered integral to economic growth (OECD, 2007 7). Arguably, the circumscribed support for work mothers in Germany has resulted in women postponing childbearing so that they can instead enter the workforce in regularize to financially support themselves. This has an effect upon economic growth (WILPF International, 2013 1), though it has been said that social policy in Germany is a work in progress and that attempts to reinforce child care is being made (Spiegel, 2012 1). sexual activity Equality and family policies in France In comparison with Germany, social policy in France does actually appear to reflect the ideas of contemporary society, and is thus more roaring to women. This was determine by Rodgers when it was noted that France has a more conscious, cl previous(predicate) defined concept of family policy, which finds expression in statutory and voluntary institutions whose autochthonic or even sole purpose is to sanction the welfare of the family (2009 113). Statutory benefits in France are also provided, as of right, to some(prenominal) parents. This demonst rank how gender equality is more adequate in France than it is in Germany (Rogers, 2009 113). This is out-of-pocket to the support women receive in France by the French government and the easy-disposed family policies that exist. operative support for childcare is also being provided by France and their hire system is particularly generous (European Union, 2014 1). The support that is provided to women is thus particulariseed to allow a work-life b alance to be achieved. This approach does appear to be working assumption the high fertility and employments rates of women with children (European Commission, 2014 1). Hence, it has been argued that the high fertility rates in France is due to Frances consistent family policy and the excellent employment prospects women are said to have (Del Boca, 2008 2).Monetary benefits are a learn feature of Frances family policy (Cleiss, 2013 1). This generosity has been considered essential in sustenance women and removing gender inequality in France. Yet not all pit with this approach and it has instead been argued that whilst women in France receive a number of different benefits such as paid, four-month maternity leaves tax breaks for having more children and other family-friendly government subsidies, their country lags behind many other nations in gender equality (MNT, 2010 1). This suggests that although a number of social policies have been established in France that intend to prov ide greater support to women, not all believe that gender inequality is eradicated and instead argued that outdated societal attitudes regarding women are still ordinary (Girling, 2002 126). Nevertheless, Frances benefit system does appear to be a lot more generous than Germanys, which might be suggested leads to greater equality between the sexes. However, it seems as though complete equality is still not being attained. on that point still appears to be a gender pay time out between men and women in France, and women continue to be tempered other than in general (European Commission, 2013 10). Arguably, it is clear from these findings that social policies may not actually remove the gender inequalities that persist within society and that the attitudes of individuals also need to be changed.Functionalist and route dependency to gender equality and family policiesFunctionalism has been described as a philosophy of mind in that a particular affable state will be parasitic on the role it plays on the cognitive system in which it is a part of. In effect, functionalists view the identity of mental states as being determined by its effortless relations to sensory stimulations, behaviour and other mental states (Stanford, 2004 1). Functionalism is clearly dominant within the approaches that are being employed in two Germany and France since functionalists view gender inequality as a product of conventional ideology within society (Isajiw, 2013 129). Given that gender inequality is still prevailing within two Germany and France it might be though that social policies cannot change traditional ideology. Pre-existing notions of the ideal family will be likely to remain and individuals will thus correct to the roles that have been provided to them by society. Whilst gender roles have changed substantially in contemporary societies, functionalists believe that traditional arrangements remain in force (Giddens and Griffiths, 2006 467). This is what appea rs to be happening in France because although social policy has been advanced, gender inequality still exists as a result of traditional arrangements. Furthermore, whilst social policy in Germany is not as supportive of women as it is in France, the same applies here and traditional arrangements continue to prevail.Path dependency is a term that is used to describe the idea that history matters and that we are nowadays a product of what has happened in the past (Margolis, 1996 1). Path dependency is also reflective of gender equality in Germany and France in that past decisions process future decisions. This is so regardless of whether the circumstances are still germane(predicate) (Arthur, 1994 33). Historical viewpoints are therefore being maintained condescension the fact that this no longer provides a true reflection of reality and as put by Skocpol the development trends of social modernization may stage legacies of path dependent pagan and institutional organisation (199 2 8). Gender equality is affected by this and improvements to the lives and wellbeing of women is stifled. Alexander and Welzel argue that path dependent processes with respect to womens suffrage policy may affect the strength to increase gender equality in particular societies (2014 9). Again, this demonstrates why women continue to be paid less than men in some(prenominal) Germany and France. This results from the diachronic gender inequality practices because as stated by Bjornskov et al because of the path dependence of the unfolding human life, gender inequality in the early eighties might as affect todays opportunities, choices and intent levels (2007 2). This will continue to affect the way women are treated in the future and it is arguable whether discrimination against women will ever be eradicated. inference Overall, it has been argued that ideological beliefs will continue to influence the ways women are treated in society, and regardless of the social policies that are implemented by welfare states, gender inequality will continue to persist. This is because the traditional roles of males and females will continue to be overriding within all aspects of life as women will continue to take on the role of a homemaker, whilst men will continue to take on the role of a breadwinner in certain groups of society. political theory is largely responsible for these inequalities and women will continue to be treated differently to men as a result. This is evidenced in both Germany and France regardless of the fact that their social policy strategies are different and demonstrates how ideology will continue to dominate contemporary society. Thus, women in Germany are treated far less favourably than the women in France, yet both countries are similar when it comes to gender inequality. An example of this can be seen in relation to the gender pay gaps which are widespread amongst both nation states. Nevertheless, despite the fact that gender inequality i s likely to persist regardless of what policies are implemented, it is manifest that improvements can surely be made. Further support should be provided to women in Germany, whilst the gender pay gap should be reduced in France. This is unlikely to provide complete equality because, as recognised by the functionalist and path dependency models, the traditional arrangement of gender roles will continue influence society.References Alexander, A. C. and Welzel, C. (2014) Four Theories Tested on Four Different Aspects of Gender Equality Empowering Women, Online ready(prenominal) http//www.democracy.uci.edu/files/democracy/docs/conferences/grad/alexander.pdf 02 April 2014.Benson, H. (2013) What is the Divorce Rate, The wedding Foundation, Online operable http//www.marriagefoundation.org.uk/Shared/Uploads/Products/5357_MF%20-%20What%20is%20the%20divorce%20rate%20-%20060213.pdf 02 April 2014.Bjornskov, C. Dreher, A. Justina, A. V. and Fischer, A. V. (2007) SSE/EFI working(a) Paper Ser ies in Economics and Finance none657.Brown, S. E., Esbensen, F., and Geis, G., (2010). Criminology Explaining annoyance in Context. 7th Edition, capital of the unite Kingdom Elsevier.Cleiss. (2013) Family Benefits The French genial Security System, Online forthcoming http//www.cleiss.fr/docs/regimes/regime_france/an_4.html 02 April 2014.Craven, Z, Clearinghouse, Human Rights and Domestic abandon Australian Domestic & Family Violence, Online procurable http//www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/human_rights.pdf 02 April 2014.Curra, J., (2000). The theory of relativity of Crime. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage.Davis, N. J. and Robinson, V. R. (1991) Mens and Womens Consciousness of Gender discrimination Austria, West Germany, Great Britain and the United States American Sociological refreshen, wad 56, No. 1.Del Boca, D. Pasqua, S. and Pronzato, C. (2008) Market Work and motherhood Decisions in Contexts Discussion Paper Series, IZA DP No 3303, Online, addressable http//ftp.iza.org/dp 3303.pdf 02 April 2014.Eagleton, T. (1991) political theory An Introduction, London Verso.European Commission. (2012) Women on Boards Commission Proposes 40% Objective Online available http//ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/gender-equality/news/121114_en.htm 02 April 2014.Giddens, A. and Griffiths, S. (2006) Sociology, Social Science, Polity.Girling, J. (2002) France semipolitical and Social Change, Routledge, political Science.European Commission. (2012) Statistics European Union, Online, Available http//europa.eu/epic/statistics/index_en.htm 02 April 2014.European Commission. (2013) Tackling the Gender Pay whirl in the European Union Justice, Online Available http//ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/gender_pay_gap/gpg_brochure_2013_final_en.pdf 02 April 2014.European Union. (2014) France pregnant Support for Women and High Monetary Benefits, Online, Available 03 April 2014.Fraser, N. (1994) afterwards the Family Wage Political Theory, Volume 22, No. 4.Foghlam Alba. (20 12) Womens Rights and Suffragettes Online Available 05 April 2014.George, V., and Wilding, P., (1985). Ideology and Social Welfare. Routledge, second Edition.Herring, J., (2007). Family Law, Pearson Education, third Edition.Kania, R. E, (1988). Conservative Ideology in Criminology and barbarous Justice. American ledger of Criminal Justice. Volume 13, Number 1.Margolis, S. E. (1996) Path Dependence Online Available http//wwwpub.utdallas.edu/liebowit/palgrave/palpd.html 07 April 2014.Meer, S. (2013) Struggles for Gender Equality Reflections on the place of men and mens organisations, Open Debate, Online Available http//www.osisa.org/sites/default/files/sup_files/open_debate_2_-_reflections_on_the_place_of_men_and_mens_organisations_in_the_struggle_for_gender_equality.pdf 02 April 2014.Mill, J. S. and Okin, S. M. (1988) The Subjection of Women, Hackett Publishing Co.MNT. (2010) Gender Inequality Persists in France in spite of Family-Focused Benefits Online Available http//www.medic alnewstoday.com/releases/204545.php 03 April 2014.OECD. (2007) Babies and Bosses Reconciling Work and Family Life A Synthesis of Findings for OECD Countries.OECD. (2008) Gender and Sustainable Development Maximising the Economic, Social and Environmental Role of Women.Pascall, G. (2000) Gender and Social Policy Comparing Welfare States in Central and eastern Europe and the former Societ Union Journal of European Social Policy, Volume 10, Number 3.Peters, D. (2001) Breadwinners, Homemakers and Beasts of preventive A Gender Perspective on bewitch and Mobility Institute for metropolis and Regional Planning, Sustainable Development International, 93-100.Radacic, I. (2008) Critical Review of Jurisprudence An fooling Series Gender Equality Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, European Journal of International Law, Issue 4, EJIL 2008 19 (841).Rodgers, B. N. (2009) Family Policy in France Journal of Social Policy, Volume 4, Issue 2.Saggers, S. Dodd, J. and Wildy, H. (200 9) Constructing the ideal family for family-centred practice challenges for legal transfer Disability and Society, Volume 24, Issue 2.Seeleib, M. K. (2007) Innovative ways of coping with old and new challenges Enterprises as actors of family policy, Family Policies in Britain and Germany, Online Available http//www.socialpolicy.ed.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/10108/Family_Policy_in_Britain_and_Germany_Midpoint_Conference171107.pdf 02 April 2014.Skocpol, T. (1992) Protecting Soldiers and Mothers The Political Origins in Social Policy in the United States, Cambridge Cambridge University Press.Stanford. (2004) Functionalism Online Available http//plato.stanford.edu/entries/functionalism/ 07 April 2014.Sudha, D. K. (2000) Gender Roles, New Delhi APH Publishing.WILPF International. (2014) Racism and Gender Inequality in Germany Peace & Freedom, Online Available http//www.wilpfinternational.org/racism-and-gender-inequality-in-germany/ 02 April 2014.Give a comparative, cross-national enumerate of social policy in the field of gender equality and family policies.IntroductionSocial policy is the term that is used to describe the various principles, guidelines, legislative provisions and activities that impact human welfare. Social policy has thus been defined as an compendium of societies responses to social need (Lewis, 2013 1) and has been said to centralise on certain aspects of the providence that are concerned with basic human needs. Nevertheless, different societies have genuine different ways to meet social policy needs. Whilst some rely primarily upon ideological beliefs within family institutions, others rely on the actions of individuals and governmental activities (Lewis, 2013 1). Ideology plays an important part in social policy as it is the belief that individuals should behave in a way that is consistent with the goals and expectations of the most dominant in society. There are many different views and opinions that exist in respect of ideology (Kania, 1988 1), yet it has been considered extremely discriminatory as it only serves the interests of one segment of a society more than all other segments (Curra, 2000 6). One particular group of people therefore benefit more than other groups, which is the case when it comes to gender equality and family policies. (Brown et al 2010 9). The nuclear family, which is the traditional family structure that consists of two parents and children, is still being considered the ideal in many cultural, family and social settings. This is so despite the fact that contemporary families now equal a diverse range of different family and so-called non family types (Saggers and Sims, 2009 173). Although ideals are necessary in helping people to identify right from wrong, too much reliance should not be placed on ideology as this will otherwise result in inequality. A fundamental amount of the gender bias that currently exists has stemmed from ideology (Bjornskov et al, 2007). This is extremel y dicey and demonstrates how important gender regimes (as policy logics) in welfare states are in integral to equality. For example, in domestic violence cases, women are treated unfavourably on the basis that it was previously deemed acceptable for a man to side standard his wife (Brown et al, 2010). This has produced many problems over the years and is still an on-going concern for many countries, which will be identified in this study (Cleiss, 2013). Thus, a comparative, cross-national account of social policy in the field of gender equality and family policies will be considered. This will be done by comparing social policy in Germany and France and demonstrating whether gender equality is attainable.Gender Equality and Family Policy in Germany and FranceThe 1970s new social feminist movement was the low gear time gender inequality was brought to the publics attention as domestic violence was previously considered part of the rough and tumble of married life (Herring 2007 p. 262). This gender bias not only happened in the stage setting of domestic violence provided it was also turn a natural part of everyday life. Males were considered to be breadwinners, whilst females were the homemakers. Because females were considered totally dependent on the male breadwinner, a lack of financial and support existed for women and there was a critical need for social policy changes to be implemented in order to reduce the gender inequality women were being subjected to (Curra, 2000). Feminists believed that this gender inequality was the result of ideology and that gender equality should become a vital part of social policy across all nation states (George and Wilding 1985 p. 122). Feminism is prevalent within different jurisdictions and has been considered a diverse collection of social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies and aims to understand the nature of gender inequality and focuses on gender politics, power relations and sexuality (EKU, 2 012 1). Feminists believe that individuals cannot achieve complete liberty so long as inequality continues to persist and that humanity is therefore unattainable. Regardless of this, the gender inequality that exists within family structures is still being recognised as a global issue and is prevalent both in Germany and France. This is partly due to the cultural practices of these societies as cultural relativism is still being used to condone such inequality (Craven, 2005 3). In addition, as put by Fraser existing welfare states are premised on assumptions about gender that increasingly out of phase with many peoples lives and self-understandings (1994 591).It seems as though inadequate social protection is being provided to women in both countries, although Frances social policy regime does appear more favourable to women than Germanys. This is evidenced by the fact that Germany holds a strong preference for the representative nuclear family ideal and continues to view males as breadwinners and females as homemakers. It is a common belief throughout Germany that women should not work and that they should instead be stay at home mums. This was identified by Peters when he pointed out that Mens stereotypical role in Germany is one of the income earning breadwinner, who leaves the house for work in the morning and comes back in the evening (2001 93). Because of the stereotypical role that is still being employed in Germany, women end up acting two roles. This is because contemporary women no longer stay at home to look after children and instead choose to become income earners. Furthermore, the pay gap between men and women in Germany continues to widen and has been criticised for being much wider than other EU states, including France. The European Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding presented the results from the Eurobarometer on Gender Equality in 2010 and concluded that Germanys figures were getting much worse In 2007, the gap was 23 percent in 2006, 2 2.7 percent (European Commission, 2012 1). In a study conducted by Davis and Robinson, however, it was evidenced that much of the gender bias stems from family policies and the ideals that have been created by society. Hence, it was demonstrated that well-educated males are less supportive of reducing gender inequality women with employed husbands are less supportive of efforts to reduce gender inequality than women without a male wage earner (1991 72). This prevents women from advancing within society and demonstrates how men are capable of stifling the attainment of gender equality in Germany.In contrast to the male dominated ideologies that exist Germany, social policies in France do actually appear to be more akin to contemporary society. This has been illustrated by Rodgers who noted that France has a more conscious, clearly defined concept of family policy, which finds expression in statutory and voluntary institutions whose primary or even sole purpose is to promote the welfa re of the family (2009 113). both(prenominal) parents of the nuclear family are also entitled to various statutory benefits as of right, which signifies how gender equality is better attained in France than it is in Germany (Rogers, 2009 113). France has a significant amount of support for women and has had an extensive policy in favour of families for a very long time. A wide range of childcare services are provided in France as well as an border system that is deemed extremely generous (European Union, 2014 1). Such support is intended to set ahead and swear out parents in finding a work life balance and is clearly working given that France has higher fertility and employments rates of women with children compared to the rest of the EUs section states (European Commission, 2014 1). It has been said that the high fertility rates in France largely result from the consistent family policy in France as well as the good employment prospects provided to women (Del Boca, 2008 2). On e of the key characteristics of Frances family policy is the monetary benefits, also known as family gross profit. The monetary benefits that are provided to families under this system include child benefit, flat-rate allowance, family income supplement, family support allowance, birth/ credence grant, basic allowance, supplement for free choice of working time and free choice of childcare, education allowance, back-to-school allowance, daily parental attendance allowance, family housing allowance and moving allowance (Cleiss, 2013 1).In view of the support women are provided with in France, it seems as though Germanys social policies on gender equality should be strengthened. This is especially so in the labour commercialize where this appears to be amongst the worst of all EU member states. Therefore, not only do women in Germany receive significantly lower pay packets to men but they also receive a lack of support from the government (Curra, 2000). There a widespread misconcept ion in Germany that if family friendly policies are implemented to assist working women, this will lead to them having fewer children, which will decrease the population overall (Giddins and Griffiths, 2006). However, it has been evidenced that countries with policies that facilitate female employment are those with the highest fertility rates (OECD, 2008 15). This resultantly increases the future supply of workers, which inevitably leads to sustained growth (OECD, 2007 7). Furthermore, the practices being employed in France appear to discredit the view that the population will be decreased if further support is provided to women, as this has not happened here and the fertility rates in Germany are low as a result of the lack of support for working mothers. This is due to the fact that women in Germany are more likely to postpone childbearing in order to enter the workforce, which stifles economic growth in the long term (Hering, 2007). Women are thus said to be facing difficulties to reconcile family, domestic work load and paid work (WILPF International, 2013 1). It has been said that the German government is working on this issue at present and has made great attempts to reinforce child daily care (Fraser, 1994), yet it is arguable whether this is proving effective given the cultural relativism that Germany is submersed with. The generosity of France is illustrative of the support that is given to contemporary families and demonstrates how Frances social family policies are workable in attaining gender equality. Not all agree with this, however, and it has instead been argued that although French women receive paid, four-month maternity leaves tax breaks for having more children and other family-friendly government subsidies, their country lags behind many other nations in gender equality (MNT, 2010 1). This, it has been said, is largely because of outmoded attitudes about the role of women in society (Girling, 2002 126). Women continue to earn less than m en they are still being viewed as homemakers and also hold few positions of power European Commission, 2013 10). This is also the case for those women that remain childless (Milj and Okin, 1988), which suggests that although France provides better support to women, gender inequality still persists. Accordingly, women continue to be treated differently to men regardless of what policies are put into practice. It is questionable whether gender equality can ever be fully attained given the attempts that have been made to do so over the years. EU law has made significant attempts to ensure men and women receive equal pay for equal work, though it has been difficult for this to be accomplished. phrase 141 of the Treaty of Amsterdam (which amended Article 119 of the Treaty of Rome), obliges member states to ensure that men and women always receive equal pay for equal work, yet it is often difficult to demonstrate that this is not being achieved. This is because the burden of proof is on the applicant to show that, on the balance of probabilities, their comparator is doing work of equal value to theirs or like work, which is considerably difficult (Equality and Human Rights Commission, 2010, p. 1). It is therefore clear from these findings that whilst France does provide greater support to women than Germany does, gender inequalities still exist. Frances social policies thereby need to be rectified so that better equality is being attained. The first step would be to close the gender pay gap, yet it remains to be seen whether this would achieve complete equality as the traditional family model will remain prevalent.Functionalism and path dependency to gender equality and family policiesFunctionalists are of the view that an individuals mental state is determined by the role in which they have been provided with in society. Functionalists therefore view gender inequality as being a product of traditional societal ideologies (Saggers et al, 2009). This is reflected by the inequality that currently exists within Germany and France. Hence, the traditional nuclear family is still being given due consideration despite the fact that modern family structures are widely diverse. Because individuals have always been taught what the traditional roles of men and women are, individuals tend to conform to such requirements. This is still happening today, whether consciously or not, and is one of the main reasons why gender equality is difficult to attain. Consequently, whilst women are provided with better support in France than they are in Germany, many of the underlying inequalities women are subjected to remain. This is because societal attitudes towards men and women have remained the same, regardless as to what social policies have been implemented, as is also the case in Germany. Hence, it is apparent that whilst gender roles in both societies have changed substantially, traditional arrangement remains in force (Giddens and Griffiths, 2006 467). Socia l policy in France has advanced significantly over the years and is very supportive of women, yet gender inequality is still prevalent because of the traditional arrangement that remains in force. This is also the case in Germany despite the fact that less support is provided to women as some attempts to close the pay gap have been made, yet it seems impossible for gender equality to be obtained.Path dependency theoretically explains how past decisions influence future ones, regardless as to whether the circumstances are still relevant. It is therefore clear from this theory that history is an important part of the future and shapes the way individuals behave. This theory is reflective of the gender equality and family policy approach that is being adopted in Germany and France. This is because historical viewpoints are being maintained regardless of the fact that the nuclear family is no longer considered the norm in contemporary society. As identified by Skocpol the development tr ends of social modernization may face legacies of path dependent cultural and institutional organisation (1992 8). This affects the advancement of gender equality and restricts the ability to improve the lives of women. Because the emergence of social policy is determined by past influences, the typical family ideal is likely to remain instilled in society. This prevents the modernisation of social policy, which explains why the traditional family model continues to subsist within social and family policy. Furthermore, as noted by Alexander and Welzel path dependent processes with respect to womens suffrage policy may affect the potential to increase gender equality in particular societies (2014 9). This is why women continue to be paid lower than men in Germany and France regardless of the current changes that are being made to achieve equality. This occurs because of the historical gender inequality practices that were being employed because as was pointed out because of the path dependence of the unfolding human life, gender inequality in the early eighties might equally affect todays opportunities, choices and aspiration levels (Bjornskov et al 2007 2). Past discrimination thereby affects the way women are viewed in society today and will continue to have an impact in the future.Gender equality is still one of the main fundamental principles the EU continually strives for (Article 14 of the European Unions Convention on Human Rights), yet despite the various policies that have been adopted women are still being treated unfavourably to men. This was recognised by Radacic who argued that notwithstanding these pronouncements, inequality of women in the member states of the Council of Europe persists (Radacic, 2008 841). The EU has therefore been largely impotent in repugn gender discrimination and achieving gender equality and although women and men are becoming more equal over the years, a principle of perfect equality (Mill and Okin, 1988 1) is still not b eing established in countries such as Germany and France. Adequate family and childcare policies that allow for gender equality therefore need to be implemented, which could be achieved by employing strategies that encourage female labour market participation, remove the gender bias ideologies, provide adequate childcare, promote childrens education and well being and allow for flexible labour. It is unlikely that much of the gender bias that is currently in place will be removed, though there will certainly be some improvements. Germany should be more supportive of women and France should make further attempts to close the pay gap. polishOverall, traditional ideological practices continue to be adopted in Germany and France when it comes to gender equality and family policy. Because of this, women continue to be treated differently to men. It is questionable whether this can ever be rectified given that gender inequality is viewed as a product of traditional societal ideologies. In Germany, women are given less support than they are in France whose social policies appear to be more akin to contemporary society. In spite of this, however, gender inequality is still prevalent throughout France. This is evidenced by the large gender pay gap and the fact that traditional ideologies are still prevalent across all social policy methods. This illustrates that regardless of what social policies welfare states implement, gender inequality will still persist. Improvements to social policy would still benefit the economy, nonetheless, and would develop gender equality further. In Germany, there is a pressing need for greater support to be provided to women as well as reducing the gender pay gap, whereas in France the main focus is on the latter. It is doubtful that complete equality would be achieved in light of the fact that the traditional family model remains intact, yet vast improvements could certainly be made. This is supported by the views of functionalists who b elieve that the traditional arrangement of gender roles remain intact despite the fact that these roles have significantly changed in modern societies. Furthermore, because past decisions influence future decisions, as recognised by the path dependency model, the nuclear family structure will always have a place in contemporary society.References Alexander, A. C. and Welzel, C. (2014) Four Theories Tested on Four Different Aspects of Gender Equality Empowering Women, 29 run into 2014.Bjornskov, C. Dreher, A. Justina, A. V. and Fischer, A. V. (2007) SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance No 657.Brown, S. E., Esbensen, F., and Geis, G., (2010). Criminology Explaining Crime in Context. Elsevier, 7th Edition.Cleiss. (2013) Family Benefits The French Social Security System, Online Available http//www.cleiss.fr/docs/regimes/regime_france/an_4.html 29 March 2014.Craven, Z, Clearinghouse, Human Rights and Domestic Violence Australian Domestic & Family Violence, Available ht tp//www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/human_rights.pdfCurra, J., (2000). The Relativity of Crime. Thousand Oaks, CA. Sage.Davis, N. J. and Robinson, V. R. (1991) Mens and Womens Consciousness of Gender Inequality Austria, West Germany, Great Britain and the United States American Sociological Review, Volume 56, No. 1.Del Boca, D. Pasqua, S. and Pronzato, C. (2008) Market Work and Motherhood Decisions in Contexts Discussion Paper Series, IZA DP No 3303, Online, Available http//ftp.iza.org/dp3303.pdf 29 March 2014.European Commission. (2012) Women on Boards Commission Proposes 40% Objective Online Available http//ec.europa.eu/justice/newsroom/gender-equality/news/121114_en.htm 29 March 2014.Giddens, A. and Griffiths, S. (2006) Sociology, Social Science, Polity.Girling, J. (2002) France Political and Social Change, Routledge, Political Science.EKU Women Studies., Feminism What is it?, 29 March 2014.European Commission. (2012) Statistics European Union, Online, Available http//europa.e u/epic/statistics/index_en.htm 28 March 2014.European Commission. (2013) Tackling the Gender Pay Gap in the European Union Justice, Online Available http//ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/gender_pay_gap/gpg_brochure_2013_final_en.pdf 29 March 2014.European Union. (2014) France Significant Support for Women and High Monetary Benefits, Online, Available http//europa.eu/epic/countries/france/index_en.htm 28 March 2014.Fraser, N. (1994) After the Family Wage Political Theory, Volume 22, No. 4.George, V., and Wilding, P., (1985). Ideology and Social Welfare. Routledge, 2nd Edition.Herring, J., (2007). Family Law, Pearson Education, 3rd Edition.Kania, R. E, (1988). Conservative Ideology in Criminology and Criminal Justice. American Journal of Criminal Justice. Volume 13, Number 1.Lewis, D. (2013) Welcome to the Department LSE Social Policy, Online Available www.lse.ac.uk/socialPolicy/aboutUs/introduction.aspx 06 April 2014.Mill, J. S. and Okin, S. M. (1988) The Subjection of Wo men, Hackett Publishing Co.MNT. (2010) Gender Inequality Persists in France Despite Family-Focused Benefits Online Available http//www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/204545.php 29 March 2014.OECD. (2007) Babies and Bosses Reconciling Work and Family Life A Synthesis of Findings for OECD Countries.OECD. (2008) Gender and Sustainable Development Maximising the Economic, Social and Environmental Role of Women.Peters, D. (2001) Breadwinners, Homemakers and Beasts of Burden A Gender Perspective on Transport and Mobility Institute for City and Regional Planning, Sustainable Development International, 93-100.Radacic, I. (2008) Critical Review of Jurisprudence An Occasional Series Gender Equality Jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, European Journal of International Law, Issue 4, EJIL 2008 19 (841).Rodgers, B. N. (2009) Family Policy in France Journal of Social Policy, Volume 4, Issue 2.Skocpol, T. (1992) Protecting Soldiers and Mothers The Political Origins in Social Policy in the United States, Cambridge Cambridge University Press.Saggers, S. Dodd, J. and Wildy, H. (2009) Constructing the ideal family for family-centred practice challenges for delivery Disability and Society, Volume 24, Issue 2.WILPF International. (2014) Racism and Gender Inequality in Germany Peace & Freedom, Online Available http//www.wilpfinternational.org/racism-and-gender-inequality-in-germany/ 29 March 2014.Cases Abdulaziz, Cabales and Balkandali v. UK (1985) Series A, No. 94 at para 78Leyla Sahin v. Turkey GC Reports 2005 at para. 115