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Gender and New Labour's Social Policies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 May 2001

KATHERINE RAKE
Affiliation:
Department of Social Policy, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, k.rake@lse.ac.uk

Abstract

Since its election to government in 1997, the programme of social policy reform introduced by the British Labour government has proceeded at a dizzying pace. This article analyses the impact of these reforms on gender relations, and how policy is working to shape the roles of citizen worker; parent and carer and spouse or partner. The article focuses on how the New Deals, tax and benefit policy (including the Working Families Tax Credit) and childcare policy affect these roles. The analysis reveals how, in institutionalising paid work as the key route to citizenship, New Labour runs the risk of building implicit gender bias into a number of its policies. The analysis suggests that more gender-sensitive policy would follow where consideration was given both to how individuals relate to the labour market over their lifetimes and to the effect of policy on the division and distribution of unpaid caring work.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2001 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

Acknowledgements: Thanks to Fran Bennett and Fiona Reynolds for comments on an earlier version of this paper, and to the participants at the Current Issues in Social Policy seminar, Barnett House, Oxford who posed many useful questions. Thanks also to Amanda Tuke for her skilled and dedicated research assistance.
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