Social and gender inequalities in care

Project outline


The INCARE project aims to understand childcare-related policy reforms and their effects in selected post-Yugoslav countries (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia), by putting a specific focus on parents whose entitlement to childcare-related leaves and services is weak.

The project uses a comparative approach to explore how the European social investment agenda is (re-)shaping country specific policy priorities and childcare-related reforms, and affecting gender and social inequalities in access and usage of childcare-related leaves and services. The project aims especially to understand the `motives` behind the childcare-related policy reforms in selected post-Yugoslav countries and the extent to which these policies support parents in everyday parenting practices and influence their decisions regarding care and employment.

The focus is on parents who are not active on the labour market or are atypically connected to employment (e.g. self-employed, marginally employed). These parents may face additional difficulties in accessing parental leaves and childcare-related services as well as increased risk of (in-work) poverty. Their experiences can provide a valuable empirical insight needed to fill a gap in theoretical and policy understanding of inequalities in childcare that a move to employment-driven social investment agenda may produce. Examination of the post-Yugoslav countries is illuminating as these countries are not only low social spenders but have recently aimed to reinforce traditional, mother-centred policies. This part of Europe is understudied and the INCARE project is in fact the first comprehensive comparative study on childcare-related policies in the region. It will add a new body of empirical evidence to the fields of comparative family policy and of gender and social inequalities studies, and will address evidence gaps for policy making at EU and national levels.

Ivana's mentor for this project at the Department of Social Policy and Intervention is Professor Mary Daly

This research is part of a project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No786826.