The social welfare state is believed by many to be one of the great achievements of Western democracy in the twentieth century. It institutionalized for the first time a collective commitment to improving individual life chances and social well-being. However, as we move into a new century, the social welfare state everywhere has come under increasing pressure, raising serious doubts about its survival.
Featuring essays by experts from a variety of fields, including law, comparative politics, sociology, economics, cultural studies, philosophy, and political theory, Women and Welfare represents an interdisciplinary, multimethodological and multicultural feminist approach to recent changes in the welfare system of Western industrialized nations. The broad perspective, from the philosophical to the quantitative, provides an excellent overview of the subject and the most recent scholarly literature. The volume offers a crosscultural analysis of welfare “reform” in the 1990s, visions of what a “woman-friendly” welfare state requires, and an examination of theoretical and policy questions feminists and concerned others should be asking.