Gender and social policy: an examination of four welfare states
Drawing upon insights of dominant ‘mainstream’ welfare state theories and models, and those of their feminist critiques, this study examines two pairs of similar welfare states, Sweden and Norway (two ‘social democratic’, Nordic welfare states), and Germany and France (two ‘conservative’, continental welfare states). The focus is on two central social policy domains; family policy and labour market policy. The study determines the characterizations of each welfare regime type and level of woman-friendliness. Sweden and Norway both welfare states fit in Esping-Andersen’s initial social democratic welfare state regime type. However, with the inclusion of gender as an analytic variable the classification as a social democratic nation is somewhat problematic. With levels of woman-friendliness considerably higher in Sweden compared to Norway. Germany remains true to its original classification as an ideal conservative welfare state with low levels of woman-friendliness. Yet, France can be said to be moderately conservative and moderately woman-friendly.
Sociology, Social Policy