The Persistent Maternalism in Labor Programs

  • Catalina de la CruzEmail author
Part of the Studies of the Americas book series (STAM)


This chapter analyzes the maternalist bias in Chilean labor programs. This bias becomes clear when looking at most of the programs that purport to have a “gender perspective” approach, but that in reality offer provisions that are in effect childcare benefits oriented toward women. Most of the programs are aimed at making it easier for women to carry out reproductive work, but fail to solve the tensions of taking on paid work alongside reproductive work. It relegates other kinds of care, for example, caring for sick people and the elderly, to second place, as well as excluding other actors such as men, the market and the State in providing care. At the same time, the emphasis on childcare is incapable of delivering specific public policy solutions to the whole range of problems that women face in the workplace, reducing women’s chances for accessing the benefits of the country’s development. As demonstrated in this chapter, when maternalism remains unchallenged, not every policy that claims to have a gender perspective necessarily has the goal of gender equality. On the contrary, in the cases where the program goal is not to reduce the gender gap, programs could end up increasing the differences between women and men rather than reducing the gender gap.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University College LondonLondonUK

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