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The Gender Impact of Social Protection Policies: A Critical Review of the Evidence

Chiara Piovani and Nursel Aydiner-Avsar

Review of Political Economy, 2015, vol. 27, issue 3, 410-441

Abstract: Over the course of the neoliberal era, social protection policies have been transformed dramatically; these changes have had profound gender implications. Since the early 1980s, welfare state regimes around the world have shifted away from 'universalism' towards 'targeting'. More recently, there has been a further shift--especially in industrialized countries--away from the male-breadwinner to the adult worker model. Despite the progressivity implied by this latter shift, important issues of gender inequality remain unresolved (even in Nordic countries where levels of gender equity are higher than elsewhere). This paper presents a critical review of social protection policies, examined from a gender perspective. The analysis presents a conceptual framework on gender and the welfare state, and examines the experience of major industrialized and developing countries in engendering social policy. In particular, this paper provides a careful examination of care-related programs, since this domain is particularly important to understanding the gendered effects of social protection policies. Finally, the gendered implications of the global crisis and subsequent policy measures are examined.

Date: 2015
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