Handbook on Society and Social Policy
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Handbook on Society and Social Policy

Edited by Nicholas Ellison and Tina Haux

This comprehensive Handbook provides a unique overview of the key issues and challenges facing society and social policy in the twenty-first century, discussing how welfare is conceptualised, organised and delivered in contemporary global society. Chapters engage with specific areas of social policy as well as with the social divisions and institutional infrastructures that underpin them. The Handbook also considers how social policy should respond to the challenges posed by austerity, human migration and the climate crisis.
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Chapter 7: Gender

Elizabeth Adamson


Gender has always been central to the development and outcomes of social policies. However, the way in which gender is positioned in social policy has been reframed in recent decades. Social policies designed to address gender inequality can both reflect and embed cultural norms and gender roles, thus there is an iterative relationship between gender cultures and the particular policies introduced to address inequalities. As this chapter aims to illustrate, social policies to address gender inequalities change over time – and look different across countries. The chapter does not endeavour to provide a comprehensive account of gender and social policy, but rather to provide readers with an understanding of useful theories and conceptual approaches to analysing social policy through a gender lens. To do this, it outlines demographic shifts impacting gender inequality; common conceptual approaches to analysing policy through a gendered lens; and provides two examples of policy areas designed to address gender equality.

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