Handbook on Gender and Social Policy
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Handbook on Gender and Social Policy

Edited by Sheila Shaver

Providing a state of the art overview, this comprehensive Handbook is an essential introduction to the subject of Gender and Social Policy. Bringing together original contributions and research from leading researchers it covers the theoretical perspectives of the field, the central policy terrain of gender inequalities of income, employment and care, and family policy. Examining gender and social policy at both the regional and national level, the Handbook is an excellent resource for advanced students and scholars of sociology, political science, women’s studies, policy studies as well as practitioners seeking to understand how gender shapes the contours of social policy and politics.
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Chapter 20: An overview of research on gender and social policy in Spain

Celia Valiente


This chapter offers an overview of scholarship on gender and the Spanish welfare state, mainly from the 1990s onwards and drawn primarily from work published in English. In the 1990s, the Spanish system of social policy was regarded as a continental welfare regime. From a gender perspective, it was assessed negatively because it offered very few care services, assumed that the main provider of care was the family (that is, women), and gave only modest help to women to combine work and family. Research developed in the twenty-first century analysed some policy initiatives intended to reform the welfare state, for instance, the so-called 2006 ‘dependency law’, which aspired to establish the universal right of dependent people to receive care partly or totally financed by the state. This and other reforms raise the question of whether the Spanish system of social policy is seriously losing its characteristics of familialism. This chapter argues that this is not the case because the family is still the main provider of care and support in Spain. The chapter recommends that future research develop general assessments of the whole architecture of the Spanish system of social policy.

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