What´s the ‘problem’ represented to be? : An intersectional, critical WPR policy analysis on the preparatory work and government bill from the Swedish government regarding changes to the parental leave policy

University essay from Linköpings universitet/Tema Genus

Abstract: The aim with this case study was to do an intersectional, critical WPR (What’s the ‘problem’ represented to be) policy analysis of the Swedish governments preparatory work and government bill to achieve a more even distribution of parental leave between parents. In order to analyse the material, I used Carol Bacchi´s critical WPR approach to policy analysis. I critically examined how the preparatory work and government bill, that was later followed by the choice to introduce an additional reserved month for each parent, construct the ‘problem’, what presuppositions underlie the representation of the ‘problem’, what was left silenced and unproblematic and what effects and implications the representation of the ‘problem’ produces. Overall, the analysis showed that the problem is represented to be that the uneven distribution of parental leave is not gender-equal which could have negative effects for women. The underlying assumptions mainly focused on women, their participation in the labour market and other aspects that is connected to traditional gender norms and our doing of gender. Little, or non, attention has been put on intersectionality and therefore, something that is left unproblematic and silenced in the problem representation. The documents mainly talk about men and women, mothers and fathers which show that the preparatory work and the government bill did not adopt a clear intersectional approach and can, therefore, be at risk of being gendering and heteronorming in its effect. 

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