Gender and the Social Rights of Citizenship: The Comparative Analysis of Gender Relations and Welfare States


Orloff, Ann Shola. 1993. “Gender and the Social Rights of Citizenship: The Comparative Analysis of Gender Relations and Welfare States.” American Sociological Review 58 (3): 303-28.

Author: Ann Shola Orloff


State social provision affects women's material situations, shapes gender relationships, structures political conflict and participation, and contributes to the formation and mobilization of identities and interests. Mainstream comparative research has neglected gender, while most feminist research on the welfare state has not been systematically comparative. I develop a conceptual framework for analyzing the gender content of social provision that draws on feminist and mainstream work. Three dimensions of qualitative variation suggested by power resources analysts are reconstructed to incorporate gender: (1) the state-market relations dimension is extended to consider the ways countries organize the provision of welfare through families as well as through states and markets; it is then termed the state-market-family relations dimension; (2) the stratification dimension is expanded to consider the effects of social provision by the state on gender relations, especially the treatment of paid and unpaid labor; (3) the social citizenship rights/decommodification dimension is criticized for implicit assumptions about the sexual division of caring and domestic labor and for ignoring the differential effects on men and women of benefits that decommodify labor. Two additional dimensions are proposed to capture the effects of state social provision on gender relations: access to paid work and capacity to form and maintain an autonomous household.

Topics: Citizenship, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Governance

Year: 1993

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