• Nanna Halkjær
4. term, Social Sciences, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis is particularly inspired by political scientist Carol Bacchi and her ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’ methodological and theoretical approach. This approach has been used in preparation to examine the directive from the European Union.; DIRECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL - on work-life balance for parents and carers and repealing Council Directive 2010/18/EU
This directive revolves around the implementation of 9 weeks ear-marked paternity leave, also referred to as ‘ear-marked parental leave’. The directives are a minimum directive, which means that member states of the European union, is free to pass and apply the legislation, so that it is more advantageous for the country’s employees. Politicians and the government, there for have an opportunity to change the existing rights and adapt them to the society, so it becomes most beneficial for the society. The thesis therefore found it interesting to examine the EU directive in a Danish political context, and the preparatory work with the implementation and development of introducing the bill, L104 proposal concerning the changing of the maternity law.

By examining ear-marked paternity leave in a danish political perspective, it was possible to examine how the politicians regard equality between women and men. Additionally regarded the thesis, that a change in such a central law as the maternity law is in a society, would reflect clear political formulated messages, that the citizen could relate to. This is because it provides insight into how society both practical and ideological, reflect the views of the government opinion on gender, gender roles and equality and constitutes them.

To examine L104 the thesis has chosen to take a poststructuralistic approach. This has given the thesis the opportunity to ask challenging questions to the role policy development plays, and to insist that the reality we live in, is open for modification. This gave the opportunity to view legislation as contributor to shaping and affecting what we do and how we live our life.
By applying a poststructuralistic approach to the thesis, it gave the opportunity to involve poststructuralistic approach on how to view the body and gender. Therefor it was possible to involve Dorthe Gert Simonsen and Dorte Marie Søndergaard, two danish scientists, who made it possible to view gender, in this thesis, as a construction that gains meaning through social interactions that exists in the given culture. The articulation is especially relevant in the analysis, because the thesis makes a critical discursive analysis by a critical discursive analysis, by involving terms and methodological approaches from Carol Bacchis ‘What’s the problem represented to be?’. In addition, Bacchi's theoretical assumptions are also taken into account, through perspectives to power including governmentality and subjectification, which provides terms and perspectives on, how the governments problem representation can create effects and govern the population in direction to achieve equality in the society.

The thesis found that the government and the politician’s articulation, is characterized by an attempt to change a historical cultural perception of maternity leave, which long has been accepted as something belonging to the mother. The politicians therefore wish to change the problematics that seems to exist on behalf of the current maternity legislation.
The legislation is there for an attempt to develop the society’s awareness and understanding, by listing a line of implicit problematics that the current maternity law produces, and by articulating positive factors that earmarked maternity leave will bring.
Politicians can therefore be considered to construct social structures through legislation, but also conversely to reinforce or reflect already existing. The thesis therefor regards that the State’s articulation and reading of the maternity problematics, can be regarded as creating problems, rather than solving problems. This means that women and men are constructed according to the conditions of existence that articulation produces.
Publication date31 May 2022
Number of pages71
ID: 471681401