In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Welfare Policy and Gender

  • Introduction
  • Journals
  • The Welfare State and Social Citizenship Rights
  • The Welfare State, Social Policy Models, and Welfare Regimes
  • Welfare Regimes and Gender Regimes
  • Caring, Labor Market Demands, and Varieties of Familialism
  • Pension Policy and Gender Inequality
  • Recent Debates on Gender and Welfare Regimes

Sociology Welfare Policy and Gender
Julia S. O'Connor
  • LAST REVIEWED: 26 May 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 26 May 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780199756384-0165


“Welfare policy” and “gender” are contested concepts and this is particularly true when they are considered in relationship to one another. Similar contestation is evident with regard to several related concepts, such as welfare states, welfare regimes, social citizenship rights, and gender regimes. Issues related to the reconciliation of private lives and labor market demands underlie much of this contestation and are particularly relevant when considering policy relating to the care of dependent people and pension policy from a gender-sensitive perspective.


Social policy and the welfare state are the subject of numerous one-off articles in several broad-ranging sociological journals, including the British Journal of Sociology, European Societies, and the American Journal of Sociology to name but a few. The journals cited here are explicitly focused on social policy and/or regularly carry social policy and gender analyses.

  • Critical Social Policy: A Journal of Theory and Practice in Social Welfare. 1981–.

    Critical Social Policy provides an international forum for advocacy, analysis, and debate on social policy issues. It is published quarterly and aims to develop an understanding of social policy from socialist, feminist, anti-racist, and radical perspectives. It is tailored to those who are actively involved in welfare issues as well as teachers and researchers of social welfare issues and social policy. It publishes articles and commentaries. Articles report original research or review and critically analyze key aspects of social policy. Commentaries (4,000 words, including references) differ from longer articles in that they do not usually report original research and they must be topical, that is, they should relate to a change in policy or be concerned with a policy that has recently been newsworthy.

  • Emmenegger, Patrick, Jon Kvist, Paul Marx, and Klaus Petersen, eds. Special Issue: 25 Years of “Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism.” Journal of European Social Policy (February 2015).

    This special issue comprises a series of articles reflecting and drawing on the implications of a quarter century since the appearance of Esping-Andersen’s The Three Worlds of Welfare Capitalism (Esping-Andersen 1990, cited under the Welfare State, Social Policy Models, and Welfare Regimes). The introduction by the guest editors provides an informative and insightful review of the field and situates the contributions in terms of the development of scholarship in this area.

  • Feminist Economics. 1995–.

    Feminist Economics produces four issues, including one special issue, per year. It offers a site to rethink some of the concepts underlying traditional economic theory from a feminist perspective. Adopting an international and global focus, it provides a forum for research on economic issues and gender inequality. Volume 11.2 in 2005 is a special issue on gender and aging edited by Nancy Folbre, Lois B. Shaw, and Agneta Stark. This special issue includes articles on key dilemmas regarding care and pensions and presents analysis of developments in a wide range of countries, including European Union member states, the United States, Palestine, Australia, South Africa, and Korea.

  • Gender, Work & Organization. 1994–.

    Gender, Work & Organization provides an arena dedicated to debate and analysis of gender relations, the organization of gender, and the gendering of organizations broadly conceived. It has a strong international editorial board and includes theoretically driven empirical analysis from a wide range of countries. It publishes special issues on a wide range of gender-related topics. These include two of particular relevance to social policy and gender: Gendered Ageing in the New Economy in 2015 (Volume 22.5) and an issue on Work-Life Balance in 2009 (Volume 16.1).

  • Journal of European Social Policy. 1991–.

    The Journal of European Social Policy (JESP) publishes four open issues and one special issue per year. It publishes articles on all aspects of social policy in Europe. It is interdisciplinary and “social policy” and “Europe” are conceptualized broadly. Articles deal with a wide range of social policy issues, including ageing, pensions and social security, poverty and social exclusion, education, training and labor market policies, family policies, health and social care services, gender, migration, privatization, and Europeanization. Two of the special issues that have particular relevance to issues discussed here are those edited by Matzke and Ostner in 2010 and by Emmenger, Kvist, Marx and Peterson in 2015.

  • Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy. 1984–.

    The 2014 special issue: Gender Justice and Global Policy Paradigms (Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy 30.1) comprises an introduction by the editors (Patricia Kennett and Sarah Payne) and seven articles addressing the failure to translate the global policy paradigm of gender equality and gender mainstreaming into the everyday lives of men and women and exploring the dynamics of, and obstacles to, gender justice and potential strategies to overcome these issues.

  • Journal of Social Policy. 1972–.

    The Journal of Social Policy, the journal of the Social Policy Association, publishes articles on all aspects of social policy in an international context. It places particular emphasis on articles that seek to contribute to debates on the future direction of social policy, to present new empirical data, to advance theories, or to analyze issues in the making and implementation of social policies. It is published four times a year—see Social Policy and Society.

  • Mätzke, Margitta, and Ilona Ostner, eds. Special Issue: Explaining Recent Shifts in Family Policy. Journal of European Social Policy 20.5 (December 2010).

    This special issue features articles on Denmark, France, Japan, and the United Kingdom and two comparative articles on Italy and the Netherlands and Austria and Germany by established scholars on family policy. These are placed in the context of an informative and insightful introduction and postscript by the editors. These articles ensure the complementarity of the contributions and ensure that the issue as a whole pushes forward the debate on family policy development and the factors contributing to the varying dynamics in policy regimes characterizing mature welfare states.

  • Policy & Politics. 1972–.

    Policy & Politics focuses on the fit between theory and policy applications and links macro-scale political economy debates with micro-scale policy studies. While it includes articles on broad public policy issues, it has published some of the key articles that have advanced the field of social policy and the welfare state. It is published four times a year, sometimes including a special issue. The scope of its focus is reflected in recent special issues, such as Basic Income (2011).

  • Social Policy & Administration. 1967–.

    Social Policy & Administration is identified as the oldest journal in its field in the United Kingdom. It was originally published as Social and Economic Administration in 1967 and adopted it current title in 1979. The journal is international in scope and covers social policy issues not only in Europe, but also in the United States, Canada, Australia, and the Asia Pacific region. It publishes seven issues per year, including themed special issues on key policy issues and debates and several on social policy in particular regions, including North America and Asia.

  • Social Policy and Society. 2002–.

    Social Policy and Society is a journal of the UK Social Policy Association. It publishes articles that draw upon contemporary policy-related research and associated developments in the social sciences. Each issue contains peer reviewed articles reflecting topical debates and issues within social policy and, uniquely, a themed section edited by a guest editor(s). Every themed section includes an introductory piece, a set of peer-reviewed articles, a selected review of the key literature, plus a guide to essential sources in the area. Like its sister journal—Journal of Social Policy—it is published four times a year.

  • Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State and Society. 1994–.

    Social Politics, first published January 1994, produces four issues per year. As spelled out in its subtitle it is explicitly international in focus. It publishes theoretical and empirical papers on gender, politics, and policy. It is at the forefront of debates on gender and policy and this is reflected in its frequent special and themed issues, which reflect global concerns about gender and policy.

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