Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Comparative data on welfare systems reveal considerable differences between between gender regimes with attendant opportunities or barriers for women's participation in the labour force. Liberal regimes are reluctant to provide adequate public childcare for mothers yet mothers enter and try and remain in the labour market. They do so by drawing on kinship networks or familial childcare. This paper based on data from the FLOWSeu project will examine focus group data from a number of cities and indicate the conflict and stress that reconciling work and family lives presents for many mothers within the European Union. Mothers live in a competitive European Labour Market and their different access to childcare generates different forms of citizenship for working and nonworking mothers. Yet employment targets -post Lisbon- ignore childcare as an issue, and leaves it off the political and EU agenda which in turn increases class polarisation within the member states. A focus on the investment state and full employment policies has removed gendered differences by failing to recognise the persistence of the impact of reproduction and motherhood on women's working lives.