Family Policy, Women’s Employment and Supranational Organizations.

  • Maureen Baker University of Auckland


In the past thirty years, a number of states have joined together to create trade alliances designed to compete more effectively in a global economy. These supranational organizations (such as the European Union and the International Labour Organisation) expand into the realm of ‘family policy’ when they make policies or pass legal judgments on such matters as the rights of migrant workers and their families, pay equity between part-time and full-time workers, and parental benefits. This paper discusses the impact of these policies and decisions on women workers, explores their underlying assumptions about women and family, and questions whether these supranational policies affect national autonomy in the area of family policy. The paper concludes that national politics remain a strong force influencing state responses to globalization and pressures from supranational organizations to harmonize social policy.