Gender and the Welfare State: The British Feminist Critiques

  • Park Mee-Sok (Sookmyung Women's University) ;
  • Han Jeong-Won (Research Institute of Asian Women, Sookmyung Women's University) ;
  • Song In-Ja (Research Institute of Asian Women, Sookmyung Women's University)
  • Published : 2002.12.01


The important argument explored in this article is women's position in welfare regimes. By examining feminist critiques on the welfare state, we intend to look into whether the welfare state is designed to promote the equal status of both men and women. In the post-war period, it was believed that social provision, together with full employment and rising real wages, would improve the welfare of all citizens. However, women were inevitably treated as second class citizens by the new welfare legislation and were assumed to be economically dependent on their husbands. As a result, though welfare provision plays a significant and liberating role in women's lives in some ways, it may also serve to restrict women by defining them in certain ways. This contradictory situations is especially true in successfully developing third world countries such as Korea. This is because the western welfare state can be misconceived as an idealistic model in which men and women obtain equality in terms of social context.


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