Family Policy, Gender and Demographic Change


Family policy is one of the most vibrant areas of social policy. Families are becoming more diverse and family policies are drawn more to the centre of economic policies as labour markets and economies change. The challenges are manifold, and include  ensuring the well-being and welfare of children, managing demographic changes and transitions, reconciling work and family life, achieving gender balance and other forms of equity within and among families, managing the redistribution of resources and opportunities between generations, offering care services especially for older people, and providing support for individual family members as well as families as a whole.

Against a backdrop in which family policy as a field is under-researched, the research group‘s work defines family policy as encapsulating financial support for families, child welfare measures, parenting support, gender equality, early childhood education and care and parental employment leave.  The ongoing research activities of the research group focus on:

(1) the nature of change and reform in family policy and the factors that are driving reforms; 

(2) policy-related outcomes in terms of patterns and variations in family lives and engagement with policy;

(3) gender inequalities associated with policy design and impact;

(4) the ongoing challenge of meeting needs associated with care for older people and children;

(5) how family well-being is achieved and the trade-offs involved for different family members and different types of policy;

(6) the infrastructure for family policy analysis, and especially the ongoing development of the Oxford Family Policy Database, in particular.

Convenor: Mary Daly

Current projects
Past projects
Selected publications

Bahle, Thomas, Bernhard Ebbinghaus, and Claudia Göbel (2015). Familien am Rande der Erwerbsgesellschaft: Erwerbsrisiken und soziale Sicherung familiärer Risikogruppen im europäischen Vergleich. [Families without Work: Nonemployment and social security of family risk groups in European comparison] Baden-Baden: Nomos / Edition Sigma.

Bennett, Fran (2013) "Researching within household distribution: overview, developments, debates and methodological challenges", Journal of Marriage and Family 75: 3, 582-597. doi 10.1111/jomf.12020.

Daly, Mary and Emanuele Ferragina (2017) Family policy in high-income countries: Five decades of development, Journal of European Social Policy, forthcoming.

Daly, Mary and Sue Westwood (2017) An asset-based approach, older people and social care: An analysis and critique, Ageing & Society, first view, DOI:

Daly, Mary et al (2015) Family and Parenting Support Policy and Provision in a Global Context, Florence: UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti.

Frejka, Tomas, Gietel-Basten, Stuart (2016) "Fertility and Family Policies in Central and Eastern Europe after 1990", Comparative Population Studies 41(1). doi:

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