This volume introduces a theory for explaining cross-national differences in the social practice of women (and men) in the areas of family and employment. It provides a theoretical framework for the ensuing comprehensive cross-national analysis of the degree and forms of labour market integration of women in three European countries - Finland, West Germany and the Netherlands - from the 1950s until 2000. Cross-national differences are explained with a focus on cultural change and the development of welfare state, labour markets, the family and social movements. It is evident that change took place along different development paths that were based on deep-rooted historical differences in the cultural ideals of the family. Such historical differences and their explanations also form part of the analysis. The results of this survey contribute to the further development of cross-national sociology on social change, social and gender inequality, welfare state, labour markets and family structures.