Sociology Welfare Policy and Gender
by
Julia S. O'Connor
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 May 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0165

Introduction

“Welfare policy” and “gender” are contested concepts and this is particularly true when they are considered in relationship to one another. Similar contestation is evident with regard to several related concepts, such as welfare states, welfare regimes, social citizenship rights, and gender regimes. Issues related to the reconciliation of private lives and labor market demands underlie much of this contestation and are particularly relevant when considering policy relating to the care of dependent people and pension policy from a gender-sensitive perspective.

Journals

Social policy and the welfare state are the subject of numerous one-off articles in several broad-ranging sociological journals, including the British Journal of Sociology, European Societies, and the American Journal of Sociology to name but a few. The journals cited here are explicitly focused on social policy and/or regularly carry social policy and gender analyses.

  • Critical Social Policy: A Journal of Theory and Practice in Social Welfare. 1981–.

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    Critical Social Policy provides an international forum for advocacy, analysis, and debate on social policy issues. It is published quarterly and aims to develop an understanding of social policy from socialist, feminist, anti-racist, and radical perspectives. It is tailored to those who are actively involved in welfare issues as well as teachers and researchers of social welfare issues and social policy. It publishes articles and commentaries. Articles report original research or review and critically analyze key aspects of social policy. Commentaries (4,000 words, including references) differ from longer articles in that they do not usually report original research and they must be topical, that is, they should relate to a change in policy or be concerned with a policy that has recently been newsworthy.

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    • Emmenegger, Patrick, Jon Kvist, Paul Marx, and Klaus Petersen, eds. Special Issue: 25 Years of “Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism.” Journal of European Social Policy (February 2015).

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      This special issue comprises a series of articles reflecting and drawing on the implications of a quarter century since the appearance of Esping-Andersen’s The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (Esping-Andersen 1990, cited under the Welfare State, Social Policy Models, and Welfare Regimes). The introduction by the guest editors provides an informative and insightful review of the field and situates the contributions in terms of the development of scholarship in this area.

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      • Feminist Economics. 1995–.

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        Feminist Economics produces four issues, including one special issue, per year. It offers a site to rethink some of the concepts underlying traditional economic theory from a feminist perspective. Adopting an international and global focus, it provides a forum for research on economic issues and gender inequality. Volume 11.2 in 2005 is a special issue on gender and aging edited by Nancy Folbre, Lois B. Shaw, and Agneta Stark. This special issue includes articles on key dilemmas regarding care and pensions and presents analysis of developments in a wide range of countries, including European Union member states, the United States, Palestine, Australia, South Africa, and Korea.

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        • Gender, Work & Organization. 1994–.

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          Gender, Work & Organization provides an arena dedicated to debate and analysis of gender relations, the organization of gender, and the gendering of organizations broadly conceived. It has a strong international editorial board and includes theoretically driven empirical analysis from a wide range of countries. It publishes special issues on a wide range of gender-related topics. These include two of particular relevance to social policy and gender: Gendered Ageing in the New Economy in 2015 (Volume 22.5) and an issue on Work-Life Balance in 2009 (Volume 16.1).

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          • Journal of European Social Policy. 1991–.

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            The Journal of European Social Policy (JESP) publishes four open issues and one special issue per year. It publishes articles on all aspects of social policy in Europe. It is interdisciplinary and “social policy” and “Europe” are conceptualized broadly. Articles deal with a wide range of social policy issues, including ageing, pensions and social security, poverty and social exclusion, education, training and labor market policies, family policies, health and social care services, gender, migration, privatization, and Europeanization. Two of the special issues that have particular relevance to issues discussed here are those edited by Matzke and Ostner in 2010 and by Emmenger, Kvist, Marx and Peterson in 2015.

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            • Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy. 1984–.

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              The 2014 special issue: Gender Justice and Global Policy Paradigms (Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy 30.1) comprises an introduction by the editors (Patricia Kennett and Sarah Payne) and seven articles addressing the failure to translate the global policy paradigm of gender equality and gender mainstreaming into the everyday lives of men and women and exploring the dynamics of, and obstacles to, gender justice and potential strategies to overcome these issues.

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              • Journal of Social Policy. 1972–.

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                The Journal of Social Policy, the journal of the Social Policy Association, publishes articles on all aspects of social policy in an international context. It places particular emphasis on articles that seek to contribute to debates on the future direction of social policy, to present new empirical data, to advance theories, or to analyze issues in the making and implementation of social policies. It is published four times a year—see Social Policy and Society.

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                • Mätzke, Margitta, and Ilona Ostner, eds. Special Issue: Explaining Recent Shifts in Family Policy. Journal of European Social Policy 20.5 (December 2010).

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                  This special issue features articles on Denmark, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom and two comparative articles on Italy and the Netherlands and Austria and Germany by established scholars on family policy. These are placed in the context of an informative and insightful introduction and postscript by the editors. These articles ensure the complementarity of the contributions and ensure that the issue as a whole pushes forward the debate on family policy development and the factors contributing to the varying dynamics in policy regimes characterizing mature welfare states.

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                  • Policy & Politics. 1972–.

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                    Policy & Politics focuses on the fit between theory and policy applications and links macro-scale political economy debates with micro-scale policy studies. While it includes articles on broad public policy issues, it has published some of the key articles that have advanced the field of social policy and the welfare state. It is published four times a year, sometimes including a special issue. The scope of its focus is reflected in recent special issues, such as Basic Income (2011).

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                    • Social Policy & Administration. 1967–.

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                      Social Policy & Administration is identified as the oldest journal in its field in the United Kingdom. It was originally published as Social and Economic Administration in 1967 and adopted it current title in 1979. The journal is international in scope and covers social policy issues not only in Europe, but also in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Asia Pacific region. It publishes seven issues per year, including themed special issues on key policy issues and debates and several on social policy in particular regions, including North America and Asia.

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                      • Social Policy and Society. 2002–.

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                        Social Policy and Society is a journal of the UK Social Policy Association. It publishes articles that draw upon contemporary policy-related research and associated developments in the social sciences. Each issue contains peer reviewed articles reflecting topical debates and issues within social policy and, uniquely, a themed section edited by a guest editor(s). Every themed section includes an introductory piece, a set of peer-reviewed articles, a selected review of the key literature, plus a guide to essential sources in the area. Like its sister journal—Journal of Social Policy—it is published four times a year.

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                        • Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society. 1994–.

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                          Social Politics, first published January 1994, produces four issues per year. As spelled out in its subtitle it is explicitly international in focus. It publishes theoretical and empirical papers on gender, politics, and policy. It is at the forefront of debates on gender and policy and this is reflected in its frequent special and themed issues, which reflect global concerns about gender and policy.

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                          The Welfare State and Social Citizenship Rights

                          The term welfare state is usually used to refer to programs and expenditure relating to health, education, personal social services, and income maintenance, such as pensions, unemployment insurance, and welfare or means-tested social assistance. In terms of policy these areas are encompassed by the terms social or welfare policy. The welfare state as we know it today in economically developed countries was developed primarily in the post–World War II period, but the roots of many of the contemporary programs were laid between the 1880s and 1920s in western Europe, and state intervention as a protection against the ravages of the market goes back several centuries. While the welfare state in this sense is a phenomenon of advanced capitalism and, as such, all developed capitalist economies can be identified as welfare states, the type and scope of welfare states vary considerably. This reflects the fact that different political choices and settlements were made in different countries, factors that are reflected in differing welfare regimes. Citizenship rights, in particular social citizenship rights, are central to welfare states and the variations among them. The development of welfare states can be seen as a process of transition from access to services and benefits entirely on the basis of class position and associated resources to access certain categories of services and benefits, for example, education and health care in some countries on the basis of citizenship rights. Most contemporary discussions of citizenship take as their source the essay “On Citizenship and Social Class” authored by T. H. Marshall in 1949 (Marshall 1964). Despite reliance on British history and the assumption of a universal category of citizens, all of whom benefit equally from achieved citizenship rights, Marshall provides the background for the conception of citizenship embodied in much of the welfare state literature, in particular, the comparative analysis literature, and it serves as the focus of much of the gender-sensitive and feminist critique of welfare state literature, for example Pateman 1989 and Lister 2003.

                          • Lister, Ruth. 2003. Citizenship: Feminist perspectives. 2d ed. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

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                            Recognizing that both women and men are members of multiple groups requires “a gender-inclusive” model of citizenship. This would combine elements of both gender-neutral and gender-differentiated approaches to rights and participation in society.

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                            • Marshall, T. H. 1964. Citizenship and social class. In Class, citizenship and social development. By T. H. Marshall, 64–122. Westport, CT: Greenwood.

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                              Originally published in 1949. On the basis of British history Marshall divides the development of citizenship into three stages: civil citizenship, relating to liberty of the person and property rights, is dated from the 18th century with the development of the judicial system and legal rights. Political citizenship, relating primarily to the right to vote and to organize, for example in trade unions, dates from the 19th century. Social citizenship, which relates to rights to economic welfare and security, dates from the 20th century with the extension of the educational system and the development of the welfare state. None of these rights just evolved naturally; rather they were achieved through collective struggle. In the case of social rights this collective struggle was possible because of the existence of civil and political rights.

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                              • Pateman, Carole. 1989. The patriarchal welfare state. In The disorder of women: Democracy, feminism and political theory. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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                                Carole Pateman builds her critique of the gender-neutral conception of citizenship on the failure of the liberal conception of citizenship to take seriously the significance of the sexual division of labor. Her critique of the public-private divide and the limitations of a gender-neutral or a gender-differentiated model of citizenship and the associated dilemma placed on women in terms of full citizenship rights has been enormously influential in citizenship debates.

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                                The Welfare State, Social Policy Models, and Welfare Regimes

                                The welfare regime concept is not new. Richard Titmus identified three “contrasting models” of social policy—residual, industrial achievement, and performance and institutional redistributive—in the 1970s (Titmus 1974, see pp. 30–32). The debates on welfare regimes since the early 1990s have focused on the work of Gøsta Esping-Andersen, in particular his book The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (Esping-Andersen 1990), which acknowledges a debt to Titmus. Welfare regimes refer to clusters of more or less distinct welfare states in terms of the level and quality of social rights and the bases of stratification on which the particular welfare state is built. Esping-Andersen identified social democratic, liberal, and conservative status-based regimes. This has inspired considerable innovative work on the comparative analysis of welfare states (e.g., see Emmenegger, et al. 2015, cited under Journals), it has also been the subject of criticism, particularly by scholars interested in a gender-sensitive welfare state analysis and whose works are introduced in Welfare Regimes and Gender Regimes.

                                • Esping-Andersen, Gøsta. 1990. The three worlds of welfare capitalism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Univ. Press.

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                                  The goal of this book was to “sociologize” the study of welfare states. It was based on the beliefs that existing theoretical models were inadequate and on the necessity for comparative empirical research as essential to identify “the fundamental properties that unite or divide welfare states.” Based on these beliefs and using extensive comparative data the author identifies three welfare regimes, that is, clusters of more or less distinct welfare state types in terms of the principles of rights and bases of stratification on which the welfare state is built.

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                                  • Titmus, Richard M. 1974. Social policy. London: Allen and Unwin.

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                                    In this foundational contribution on social policy Richard Titmus (pp. 30–31) identifies three models of social policy: residual, industrial achievement-performance, and institutional redistributive. He points to the simultaneous existence of the three regimes and an ideological basis of difference: policy choice, not level of economic development, determines the welfare regime of a particular country.

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                                    Welfare Regimes and Gender Regimes

                                    Gender refers to the socially constructed structural, relational, and symbolic differences between men and women. The concern of gender-sensitive analysis is with “how gender is involved in processes and structures that previously have been conceived as having nothing to do with gender” (Acker 1989, p. 238). It recognizes that gender and class are produced within the same ongoing practices. “Looking at them from one angle we see class, from another we see gender, neither is complete without the other” (Acker 1989, p. 239). Gender sensitive welfare state analysis flourished in the 1990s and has effectively altered the terms of the mainstream debate on social and welfare state policy in the direction of gender awareness, if not gender conceived in structural and relational terms, as a central analytical category in welfare state analysis (see Orloff 2009, cited under Recent Debates on Gender and Welfare Regimes). Jane Lewis made a path-breaking contribution in an article in 1992 (Lewis 1992) in which she argued that the concept of welfare regime must incorporate the relationship between unpaid and paid work and that the idea of the male breadwinner family model has historically cut across established typologies of welfare states. She proposed a typology of strong, modified and weak male breadwinner regimes, differing in terms of services supporting the participation of women in the labor force. Revisiting this topic a decade later she considered the implications of the decline of the male breadwinner model and the move in several countries to the “one-and-a-half-earner family” model and in Sweden and the United States to an “adult-worker” family model but with vastly different levels of policies to support such a move (Lewis 2001). A further decade on Mary Daly concluded that policy in several European Union (EU) countries encourages a one-and-a-half earner family arrangement rather than an adult worker model (Daly 2011). In parallel to Lewis’s work others pointed to the gender-related limitations of the welfare regime concepts of de-commodification, stratification, and the state market family relationship. Recognition that the primary concern for many women is not de-commodification but commodification, as reflected in labor market participation, implies a need to prioritize analysis of the reconciliation of unpaid and paid work. This means that analysis of de-commodification must be accompanied by analysis of services that facilitate labor market participation, such as child care and parental leave. Analysis of the state market family relations dimension must take into account the impact of status in the family with regard to ability not only to participate in the labor market, but also to exercise the associated social citizenship rights (Orloff 1993; Sainsbury 1996; O’Connor, et al. 1999; and see O’Connor 2013 for a review of these issues).

                                    • Acker, Joan. 1989. The problem with patriarchy. Sociology 23.2: 235–240.

                                      DOI: 10.1177/0038038589023002005Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      In this short response to debates on patriarchy Acker provides an insightful review of the problems with patriarchy as an analytical concept. She advocates shifting the analytical focus to how gender is implicated in all social processes arguing that this will provide greater insight into the persistent reproduction of gender inequality.

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                                      • Ciccia, Rossella, and Mieke Verloo. 2012. Parental leave regulations and the persistence of the male breadwinner model: Using fuzzy-set ideal type analysis to assess gender equality in an enlarged Europe. Journal of European Social Policy 22.5: 507–528.

                                        DOI: 10.1177/0958928712456576Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        This paper uses fuzzy-set ideal type analysis to assess the conformity of European leave regulations to four theoretical ideal typical divisions of labor: male breadwinner, caregiver parity, universal breadwinner, and universal caregiver. In contrast to the majority of previous studies, the focus of the analysis is on the extent to which leave regulations promote gender equality in the family and the transformation of traditional gender roles.

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                                        • Daly, Mary. 2011. What adult worker model? A critical look at recent social policy reform in Europe from a gender and family perspective. Social Politics 18.1: 1–23.

                                          DOI: 10.1093/sp/jxr002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                          Based on an analysis of evidence on social policy reform in fifteen EU countries from a gender and family perspective, Daly identifies “concurrent moves in several directions” and argues that “a dual earner, gender specialised, family arrangement is being promoted” (pp. 1–2). The result is an effective encouragement of a one-and-a-half-earner family arrangement rather than an adult-worker model.

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                                          • Lewis, Jane. 1992. Gender and the development of welfare regimes. Journal of European Social Policy 2.3: 159–173.

                                            DOI: 10.1177/095892879200200301Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                            In this path-breaking article Jane Lewis argues that the concept of welfare regime must incorporate the relationship between unpaid and paid work. Further, she argues that the idea of the male breadwinner family model has historically cut across established typologies of welfare states and that the model has been modified in different ways and to different degrees in different countries. She proposes a typology of strong, modified, and weak male breadwinner regimes. The male breadwinner model is not found in its pure form in any country, that is, women are not totally excluded from the labor market and totally dependent on male breadwinners for survival, yet all countries reflect elements of this ideology and some adhere relatively strongly to the model.

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                                            • Lewis, Jane. 2001. The decline of the male breadwinner model: Implications for work and care. Social Politics 8.2: 152–169.

                                              DOI: 10.1093/sp/8.2.152Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                              In an issue of Social Politics on restructuring Lewis identifies a shift in several economically developed countries in the late 20th century to the “one-and-a-half-earner family” and in some—she identifies Sweden and the United States—to an “adult-worker model family” in which it is assumed that all adult workers are in the labor market. While this is potentially more favorable to women than the male breadwinner model the realization of this potential depends on appropriate policies to recognize care work, policies such as maternity and parental leave and child care. Sweden implemented such policies, the United States did not. Lewis traces a shift toward an adult-worker family model in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom from the late 20th century but points to considerable inconsistencies between labor market policies aimed at participation, on the one hand, and the income maintenance and care policies, or the implementation of these, which would facilitate full participation, on the other hand.

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                                              • O’Connor, Julia S. 2013. Gender, citizenship and welfare state regimes in the early twenty-first century: “Incomplete revolution” and/or gender equality “lost in translation.” In A handbook of comparative social policy. 2d ed. Edited by Patricia Kennett, 137–161. Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar.

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                                                This chapter provides an overview of the broad dimensions of the debates on gender, citizenship, and welfare state regimes as they relate to one another in the literature analyzing redistribution and social service production and provision over the past several decades. O’Connor demonstrates that gender, citizenship, and welfare state regimes continue to be contested concepts but are now the subject of intense theoretical and empirical analysis that is yielding significant insights into the comparative analysis of welfare states, in particular the variation in the range and quality of social rights. Analyses in this chapter indicate that any one welfare state regime may encompass a number of policy regimes depending on the policy areas under consideration.

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                                                • O’Connor, Julia S., Ann Shola Orloff, and Sheila Shaver. 1999. States, markets, families: Gender, liberalism, and social policy in Australia, Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511597114Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                  Structured thematically and systematically in a comparative approach, the authors analyze three policy areas—labor markets, income maintenance, and reproductive rights—in four liberal welfare regimes—the United States, Canada, Australia, and Great Britain. Contributions consider the role of the state as a site for gender and sexual politics and develop and discuss social citizenship with the objective of understanding the interplay of gender and class and to some extent race and ethnicity. O’Connor, Orloff, and Shaver argue that the threefold institutional structures of state, market, and family provide a key to the class and gender dimensions of social policy regimes whatever their type.

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                                                  • Orloff, Ann Shola. 1993. Gender and the social rights of citizenship: The comparative analysis of gender relations and welfare states. American Sociological Review 58:303–328.

                                                    DOI: 10.2307/2095903Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    Orloff’s work is a widely cited critique of mainstream comparative welfare research for its lack of attention to gender. She extends three key dimensions of the power resources approach to incorporate gender: the state, market, and family dimension; the stratification dimension; and the social citizenship rights/de-commodification dimension. She complements this by arguing for two dimensions to assess the effects of the actions of states in gender relations: women’s access to paid work and women’s capacity to form and maintain autonomous households.

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                                                    • Sainsbury, Diane. 1996. Gender equality and welfare states. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

                                                      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511520921Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      A central question of Gender Equality and the Welfare State is whether gender policy regimes coincide or cut across welfare state regimes. It focuses on how social provision, taxation, and labor market policies structure and transform gender relations in the Netherlands, the United States, Britain, and Sweden. The book is divided into four sections on dimensions of welfare variation, bases of entitlement, stratification and redistribution outcomes, and welfare state restructuring. Sainsbury argues that policy variations across countries are shaped by differing strategies and demands of women’s movements, the organizational strength of labor and industrial relations frameworks, and the constellations of parties supporting equality measures, policy legacies, and state structures.

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                                                      Caring, Labor Market Demands, and Varieties of Familialism

                                                      “Care” is an increasingly salient issue on the political agenda of most, if not all, developed welfare states and is reflected in the social policy discourse of the European Commission and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It is a key cross-cutting issue in considering the new social needs (Bonoli 2005) of several demographic groups. Paid and unpaid caring work and the reconciliation of caring and labor market demands are fundamental to the gender-sensitive critique of welfare regime analysis, particularly of the concept of de-commodification and the role of the state, the market, and the family in service provision. An early and highly influential analysis in Knijn and Kremer 1997 places care at the center of welfare state analysis and argues that, to varying degrees, welfare regimes have shaped the needs and rights of caregivers and care receivers in ways that contribute to gender inequality in social citizenship rights. There is an enormous literature in this area (see O’Connor 1996, pp. 13–29, for a review of key analyses up to the mid-1990s). Rummery and Fine 2012 presents a more recent critical review of theory, policy, and practice and explores debates on the various categorizations of care from care conceived as a labor of love to the rights of caregivers and receivers. The cross-national variation that characterizes policies reconciling work and care are captured in Leira 2002, which focuses on Scandinavia; in Daly and Rake 2003 and in Gornick and Meyers 2003, which take a broader cross-national focus. A highly significant stream of analysis encompassing caring and reconciliation of private lives and labor market demands is that of identifying familialism and its variations. Leitner 2003 identifies four ideal types of familialism in an analysis of EU member states: implicit familialism, explicit familialism, optional familialism, and a de-familializing type on the basis of policies on provision of care for children, disabled, and elderly people. Saraceno and Keck 2010 utilizes a threefold conceptualization of intergenerational policy, that is, policy toward children and older people, in twenty-seven EU countries: familialism by default, supported familialism, and de-familialization. Javornik 2014 builds on Leitner’s varieties of familialism in testing the analytical potential of an index of state de-familialism in eight post-socialist EU member states.

                                                      • Bonoli, Giulano. 2005. The politics of the new social policies: Providing coverage against new social risks in mature welfare states. Policy & Politics 33:431–449.

                                                        DOI: 10.1332/0305573054325765Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                        This article identifies new social risks (NSRs) to include reconciling work and family life, lone parenthood, long-term unemployment, being among the working poor, or having insufficient social security coverage. It points out that these new risks tend to be concentrated among women, the young, and the low skilled, groups that have little capacity to mobilize. Bonoli argues that if their needs are to be met they will need to form alliances with other social groups and political actors.

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                                                        • Daly, Mary, and Katherine Rake. 2003. Gender and the welfare state: Care, work and welfare in Europe and the USA. Oxford: Polity.

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                                                          This book analyzes care, work, and welfare in eight countries: France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Daly and Rake argue that the effects of the welfare state are evident in the relative resources and power relations of men and women. They trace the relationship between national welfare states and care needs and provision, the gender division of paid and unpaid work, the conditions of women’s and men’s participation in the labor market, and gender differences in access to resources of money and time.

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                                                          • Esping-Andersen, Gøsta. 1999. Social foundations of postindustrial economies. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

                                                            DOI: 10.1093/0198742002.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            This book is a sociological and institutional analysis of postindustrial economies. Recognizing the powerful influence of macro-economic global trends it points to persisting diversity and the role of domestic institutional traditions, including the welfare state, and, in particular, the family economy as the key determinants in how the diverse pressures of global economic and social forces will be addressed. In this context and acknowledging the gender-sensitive critiques of his earlier work the author points to the importance of de-familialization conceived as policies facilitating women’s command over resources independent of family and facilitating labor force participation.

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                                                            • Gornick, Janet C., and Marcia K. Meyers. 2003. Families that work: Policies for reconciling parenthood and employment. New York: SAGE.

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                                                              Gornick and Meyers review cross-national policies and models of the well-being of children, gender equality, and work-family conflict for a range of countries in Europe and Canada and draw the public policy implication for the United States. The United States diverges sharply from many of these countries in the degree of support given to parents attempting to combine paid work and child care. Gornick and Meyers demonstrate that it is possible, based on the cross-national analysis, to enhance child well-being and to increase gender equality in the United States by promoting more extensive and egalitarian policies in relation to parental leave, child care, and regulation of working time.

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                                                              • Javornik, Jana. 2014. Measuring state de-familialism: Contesting post-socialist exceptionalism. Journal of European Social Policy 24.3: 240–257.

                                                                DOI: 10.1177/0958928714525815Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                This article uses Leitner’s conceptualization of varieties of familialism (Leitner 2003) and develops an index of de-familialism to map the differences across countries. It presents these graphically using spider charts that clearly illustrate variation in types of familialism. This demonstrates that these countries share core characteristics with developed welfare state regimes.

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                                                                • Knijn, Trudie, and Monique Kremer. 1997. Gender and the caring dimension of welfare states: Toward inclusive citizenship. Social Politics 3:328–361.

                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.sp.a034270Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  Knijn and Kremer cogently argue that modern welfare states have shaped the needs and rights of caregivers and care receivers in ways that contribute to gender inequality in citizenship rights. Comparing Britain, Denmark, and the Netherlands, they identify different patterns of organizing care. They conclude that the Danish welfare state has come closest to gender equality because of the focus on care as an integral part of citizenship. They identify four dilemmas of care: care as public or private responsibility, care as paid and unpaid work, care as a form of dependence or independence, and care as the right of caregivers or of care receivers. They argue that these dilemmas lie at the heart of the welfare state and illuminate how care policies can contribute to the ideal of inclusive and ungendered citizenship.

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                                                                  • Leira, Arnlaug. 2002. Working parents and the welfare state: Family change and policy reform in Scandinavia. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Univ. Press.

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                                                                    Leira examines how Scandinavian welfare policies support balancing of work and family. She argues that child care has been reconceptualized from being the sole responsibility of parents to being a shared responsibility of the state and parents. She examines three sets of policies: early childhood education and care, paid parental leave, and cash benefits for child care. Different policies have different implications for gender inequality with some reinforcing gendered outcomes and others promoting a shared care model. She points to the need to consider the effects of the gendered division of labor on the opportunities of fathers to be supported as child carers.

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                                                                    • Leitner, Sigrid. 2003. Varieties of familialism: The caring function of the family in comparative perspective. European Societies 5.4: 353–375.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1080/1461669032000127642Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      This article develops a gender-sensitive theoretical concept of familialism. It draws from Esping-Andersen’s use of de-familialization (Esping-Andersen 1999), which stresses public and market provision of services, but argues that it should be defined in more detail. This is achieved through the development of an analytical framework relating to care policies for children and disabled and older people that identifies four ideal types of familialism: implicit familialism, explicit familialism, optional familialism, and a de-familializing type. Analysis of paid parental leave in nine EU member states gives examples of gendered and de-gendered variants of familialism.

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                                                                      • O’Connor, Julia S. 1996. From women and the welfare state to gendering welfare state regimes. Current Sociology 44.2: 1–124.

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                                                                        The title of this trend report captures its approach to the development of scholarship on gender and welfare states up to the mid-1990s. It includes chapters on caring work as a gendered activity; dependence and interdependence; and citizenship, welfare regimes, and gender stratification. It concludes that the field has moved from considering “women as an issue” to gender as a dimension of analysis.

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                                                                        • Rummery, Kirstein, and Michael Fine. 2012. Care: A critical review of theory, policy and practice. Social Policy and Administration 46:321–343.

                                                                          DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9515.2012.00845.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                          Drawing on feminist and disability-rights theories, this article explores the complexity and tensions inherent in care policy and practice because of its simultaneous emotional, labor, and relationship dimensions. It examines case studies of current comparative policy developments across different welfare regimes, including the marketization/commodification and de/re-familiarization of care.

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                                                                          • Saraceno, C., and W. Keck. 2010. Can we identify intergenerational policy regimes in Europe? European Societies 12.5: 675–696.

                                                                            DOI: 10.1080/14616696.2010.483006Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                            Based on earlier work, both their own and others (including Leitner 2003), Saraceno and Keck identify a threefold conceptualization of familialism—familialism by default, supported familialism, and de-familialization—to analyze policy toward children and older people. They use cluster and fuzzy-set analysis on an extensive range of indicators from a database of statistics from twenty-seven EU member states.

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                                                                            Pension Policy and Gender Inequality

                                                                            Pension policy has been a major concern over the past few decades in several countries, and it is an issue driven by questions about sustainability of the funding mechanisms for, and coverage of, old-age pensions. This has coincided with demographic change, including longer life expectancy and changing composition of the labor force, in particular, the higher participation of women. More recently, concern about the issue of gender inequalities in pensions and the exacerbation of these inequalities by some of the key reforms, in particular privatization and individualization, have been reflected in public policy debate and in academic analysis (e.g., Frericks, et al. 2009). A recent significant contribution European Institute for Gender Equality 2015 highlights a gender gap of 38 percent in pensions in the EU in 2012. The issue is also discussed in the UN discussion paper entitled “The Gender Dimensions of Pensions: Policies and Constraints for the Protection of Older Women” (Arza 2015). Each of these is informed by pressing policy dilemmas and current academic analyses.

                                                                            • Arza, Camilla. 2015. The gender dimensions of pension systems: Policies and constraints for the protection of older women. New York: UN Women.

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                                                                              This discussion paper identifies the challenges faced by pension systems to be gender equitable in the context of the differing life courses of women and men, relating, for example, to care work, full-time and part-time work, and earnings. The report draws on a wide range of research from scholars focusing empirically on UN member states at varying levels of economic development.

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                                                                              • European Institute for Gender Equality. 2015. Gender gap in pensions in the EU. Luxembourg City, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

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                                                                                This research report completed in 2015 highlights the key gender inequalities in pensions in the twenty-eight member states and identifies the basic principles and pension formulas in EU countries. It situates this within the context of key studies relating to gender inequality and pensions. It identifies key dilemmas in assessment of current pension inequalities and their reform.

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                                                                                • Frericks, Patricia, Trudie Knijn, and Robert Maier. 2009. Pension reforms, working patterns and gender pension gaps in Europe. Gender, Work & Organization 16.6: 710–730.

                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0432.2009.00457.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                  This article presents an insightful analysis of European pension reforms and illustrates the complexity of the implications of the dominant reform principles of privatization and individualization, particularly in terms of gender inequality. Drawing on data from fifteen EU member states the authors analyze the link between welfare arrangements and women’s life courses and illustrate the gendered norms of pension entitlements in focusing on gendered wages and life expectancies, employment patterns, and the connection between care and pensions.

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                                                                                  Recent Debates on Gender and Welfare Regimes

                                                                                  Orloff 2009 points to the confluence of two intellectual streams in the 1990s, that is, the flourishing of gender studies and regime analysis, as creating the conditions for comparative study of gender and welfare states. In the context of an unfinished agenda from a feminist perspective Orloff identifies significant developments reflecting the cross-cutting influences of earlier welfare state and welfare regime analysis, on the one hand, and gendered analysis of welfare states, on the other hand. This dual influence is evident in several of the studies cited in the sections Caring, Labor Market Demands, and Varieties of Familialism and Pension Policy and Gender Inequality. It is also evident in recent studies that effectively incorporate gender and class analysis in comparative analyses of welfare states (e.g., Cooke 2011 and Hook 2015). Social investment, which demonstrates gender awareness, has emerged in recent decades as an influential policy approach in the European Union, where it is promoted by the European Commission, and also more broadly under the influence of OECD policy discourse (Mahon 2013). Social investment stresses prevention, including a strong focus on investment in families and children so as to address child poverty, educational failure, and the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage (Morel, et al. 2012). Social investment underpins the prescription in Esping-Andersen 2009 for combatting the inequalities that result from what the author characterizes as the incomplete revolution in women’s roles over the past several decades. While social investment addresses some of the issues that are central to the gender-sensitive analysis of social policy, the gender and class implications of its implementation have been questioned by several analysts (see Cantillon 2011, Jenson 2009, Saraceno 2015). O’Connor 2015 reviews these and related issues and the distinction between gender awareness and gender equality policy. Focusing on the state and gender equality the author points to the cross-national and cross-time variation in the role of gender equality agencies and strategies in OECD countries.

                                                                                  • Cantillon, Bea. 2011. The paradox of the social investment state: Growth, employment and poverty in the Lisbon era. Journal of European Social Policy 21.5: 432–449.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1177/0958928711418856Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    This is an important paper that explores the reasons why, despite growth of employment and average incomes in the EU, poverty rates have either stagnated or increased despite the social inclusion commitments of the Lisbon Strategy. Through extensive analysis of EU income and living conditions data, Cantillon demonstrates that income protection for the working-age population out of work has become less adequate, and she links this to the ambivalence of the Lisbon Strategy and its underlying social investment strategy.

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                                                                                    • Cooke, Lynn Prince. 2011. Gender-class equality in political economies. New York: Routledge.

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                                                                                      This book opens with recognition that “[g]ender, class, and ethnic gaps in education, employment and domestic tasks all persist in the 21st century, despite the equal opportunity, affirmative action, and gender mainstreaming policies enacted during the 20th century.” The resilience of these complex inequalities is addressed by combining historical and comparative analysis to address how public policies shape gender inequalities and how gender and class inequalities interact depending on the nature of welfare state policy. The focus is on Germany (the former East and West), Spain, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States. The book effectively incorporates gender and class analysis, demonstrating that inequality is simultaneously about production and reproduction and both are essential to understanding stratification.

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                                                                                      • Esping-Andersen, Gøsta. 2009. The incomplete revolution: Adapting to women’s new roles. Cambridge, UK: Polity.

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                                                                                        “The incomplete revolution” is Esping-Andersen’s characterization of the fact that the change in women’s roles has not “come to full maturation”; he argues that while female labor force participation sets the stage it does not define the revolution, which would imply the achievement of a broader gender-equality equilibrium in the family as well as in the market. Drawing on a wide range of comparative analysis, he identifies the welfare state as the “powerful exogenous trigger” to combat the inequalities that result from the incomplete revolution in women’s roles. Such a welfare state would reflect a social investment approach focused on the prevention of poverty and the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage through a strong focus on investment in children, the employment of mothers (“the single most effective bulwark against child poverty”), and lifelong learning.

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                                                                                        • European Commission. Employment, social affairs, and inclusion: Publications and documents.

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                                                                                          This website gives access to key EU social investment documents.

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                                                                                          • Hook, Jennifer L. 2015. Incorporating “class” into work–family arrangements: Insights from and for Three Worlds. In Special issue: 25 Years of “Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism.” Edited by Patrick Emmenegger, Jon Kwist, Paul Marx, and Klaus Petersen. Journal of European Social Policy 25.1: 14–31.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1177/0958928714556968Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Addressing the critique of the neglect of gender and care in Esping-Andersen 1990 (cited under the Welfare State, Social Policy Models, and Welfare Regimes), Hook undertook a country analysis using comparative data sets from sixteen countries for 2004–2010. She demonstrates the necessity of disaggregating family patterns by class for understanding gender inequality and the appropriateness of policy prescriptions.

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                                                                                            • Jenson, Jane. 2009. Lost in translation: The social investment perspective and gender equality. Social Politics 16.4: 446–483.

                                                                                              DOI: 10.1093/sp/jxp019Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                              Jenson reviews the social investment perspective as reflected in her analysis of EU and Latin American sources. Her critique centers on the future orientation of the social investment strategy and its failure to realistically address the structural bases of gender inequality in the here and now while making women central to the demographic stability of the population and the prevention of intergenerational poverty transmission.

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                                                                                              • Mahon, Rianne. 2013. Social investment according to the OECD/DELSA: A discourse in the making. Global Policy 4.2: 150–159.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/j.1758-5899.2012.00182.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                Identifying social investment as a traveling policy perspective that has been variously interpreted over time and across organizations, Mahon provides an examination of this process in the OECD Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs (DELSA).

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                                                                                                • Morel, Nathalie, Bruno Palier, and Joakim Palme, eds. 2012. Towards A Social Investment Welfare State?: Ideas, Policies and Challenges. Bristol, UK: Policy Press.

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                                                                                                  This book provides an excellent analysis of social investment being both a comprehensive introduction and critical and constructive examination of social investment ideas, policies and challenges. The editors contribute an insightful introduction which outlines the key elements and context of the social investment approach. The rest of the book is arranged in four sections authored by well-established experts in various fields: toward a new social policy paradigm; mapping the development of social investment policies; assessing social investment policies and Meeting the challenges ahead. The editors provide a reflective concluding chapter.

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                                                                                                  • O’Connor, Julia S. 2015. The state and gender equality: From patriarchal to woman friendly state. In Oxford handbook of transformations of the state. Edited by Stepan Liebfried, Evelyne Huber, Matthew Lange, Jonah D. Levy, Frank Nullmeier, and John D. Stephens. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.

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                                                                                                    This chapter utilizes labor market change, in particular the objective of increasing female labor market participation, and change in gender equality decision-making machinery to provide the lens through which progress in, and barriers to, transformation of the state in a gender equality/woman friendly direction are identified. A key conclusion is that core OECD states can be characterized as gender equality awareness states, some more so than others, but the movement toward gender equality states is constrained by a failure to address broader structures of inequality.

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                                                                                                    • Orloff, Ann Shola. 2009. Gendering the comparative analysis of welfare states: An unfinished agenda. Sociological Theory 27.3: 317–343.

                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9558.2009.01350.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                      This is an examination of the state of the field by one of the key contributors to the gendering of the comparative analysis of welfare states. It starts with the question: “Can feminists count on welfare states—or some aspects of these complex systems—as resources in the struggle for gender equality?” While it concludes that the gendering of welfare state studies is unfinished, the author proposes key dimensions necessary to complete the agenda. She does this by assessing the gendered contribution to the analysis of social provision, including the concept of gender and studies of the gendered division of labor and of political power.

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                                                                                                      • Saraceno, Chiara. 2015. A critical look to the social investment approach from a gender perspective. In Special issue: The Politics, Policies and Political Economy of Outsourcing Domestic Work. Edited by Kate Bedford, Margarita Estévez-Abe, Barbara Hobson, et al. Social Politics 22.2: 257–269.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1093/sp/jxv008Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        Saraceno takes a positive view of the emphasis in social investment on the support for work-family policies and for public investment on children from an early age, but questions the ideal adult worker model that underlies this approach, arguing that it takes for granted gender inequalities in both the household and the labor market. She is critical of the implications for the relational meaning of caring within households and raises the possibility of new inequalities among women and between men and women.

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