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New Book: Gender and Social Policy in a Global Context: Uncovering the Gendered Structure of “the Social”

10 Aug 2006

A gender perspective on social policies in middle- and low-income countries, as in the already institutionalized “welfare states” until quite recently, has remained on the margins of mainstream research. This book attempts to move the gender analytical framework closer to the centre of social policy thinking by exposing how the social institutions through which social policy is filtered—families and communities, markets, informal arrangements for care, health and education systems, the public sector—are all bearers of gender. Women’s unpaid care work continues to form the bedrock on which social protection is subsidized, with erosions in state provisioning impacting most strongly on women. Despite women’s increasing participation in paid work, labour markets continue to reproduce gender-based segmentations and inequalities in wages and income, as well as in work-related social benefits and social protection mechanisms. Attention to gender also reveals the extent to which inequalities (of class, gender and region) are intensified as a consequence of shifts in the global economy, and processes of privatization and commercialization taking place within countries.

From their diverse regional perspectives the contributions to this volume show how social and economic rights are shaped by economic structures and reforms, institutional designs and capacities, and political processes which are all deeply gendered. The volume illustrates why both academic research and policy thinking need to factor in gender hierarchies and structures if they are to address some of the key challenges of contemporary societies: the widespread informality and insecurity of paid work, and the crisis of care.

Gender and Social Policy in a Global Context: Uncovering the Rendered Structure of “the Social”, S. Hassim and S. Razavi
Part I: Historical and Regional Trajectories in Social Provisioning
Mothers at the Service of the New Poverty Agenda: The PROGRESA/Oportunidades Programme in Mexico, M. Molyneux
Gender and Post-Socialist Welfare States in Central Eastern Europe: Family Policy Reforms in Poland and the Czech Republic Compared, S. Steinhilber
Maternalist Policies versus Women’s Economic Citizenship? Gendered Social Policy in Iran, V.M. Moghadam
Gender Equality and Developmental Social Welfare in South Africa, S. Hassim
Social Policy Reforms and Gender in Japan and South Korea, I. Peng
The Evolution of the Women-Friendly State: Opportunities and Constraints in the Swedish Welfare State, B. Hobson
The Adult-Worker-Model Family and Gender Equality: Principles to Enable the Valuing and Sharing of Care, J. Lewis and S. Giullari
Part 2: Labour Market Informality and the Search for Social Security
Labour Market Informalization, Gender and Social Protection: Reflections on Poor Urban Households in Bolivia ad Ecuador, L. Benería and M.S. Floro
Working People and Access to Social Protection, F. Lund
Part 3: Gender Dimensions of Social Sector Restructuring
Gender and Health Sector Reform: Analytical Perspectives on African Experience, M. Mackintosh and P. Tibandebage
Health Sector Reform in China: Gender Equality and Social Justice, J. Wang
Secondary Education in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh: Gender Dimensions of State Policy and Practice, J. Jha and R. Subrahmanian
Part 4: Financing Social Provisioning and Counting In Women
Gendered Implications of Tax Reform in Latin America: Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica and Jamaica, E. Huber
Expectations versus Realities in Gender-Responsive Budget Initiatives, D. Budlender

Shahra Razavi is Research Co-ordinator at UNRISD and specializes in the gender dimensions of social development with a particular focus on livelihoods and social policies.

Shireen Hassim is Associate Professor of Political Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Gender and Social Policy in a Global Context is copublished with Palgrave Macmillan; hardback, ISBN 1-4039-9630-X, 376 pages, 2005, £70.

Order from: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers Limited, Brunel Road, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 6XS, United Kingdom. Phone: +44 (0) 1256 302699; Fax: +44 (0) 1256 330688; orders@palgrave.com; www. palgrave.com/order/

This volume is part of the UNRISD series, Social Policy in a Development Context, which examines ways in which social policy can be instrumental to economic development while maintaining its intrinsic goal of social protection and equity.