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The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society (FLJS) is an independent not-for-profit institution that aims to promote an understanding of the role of law in society. We identify and analyse issues of contemporary interest and importance, disseminating the insights of decision-makers and experts to a global audience through our extensive online resource of free-to-download Policy Briefings, Opinion Pieces, and multimedia podcasts.

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Gendered Aspects of Activation Policies: The Limits of Welfare to Work

Joanne Conaghan
Publication date: 
Wed, 8 Apr 2009

The current UK government has invested heavily in labour market activation, both as an economic and social strategy. This has resulted in the phased introduction of significant changes to welfare provision, operating alongside other activation-based initiatives, including a high-profile skills agenda, a national childcare strategy, and ‘family-friendly’ employment policies to smooth the path to paid work for those with family responsibilities. 
This policy brief argues that the pursuit of activation policies, particularly in the United Kingdom, is insufficiently attentive to issues of gender and to the closely related and complex nexus of gender, work, and care.
The brief takes as its focus the UK government’s welfare reform programme, concentrating on those aspects in which gender considerations are, or should be, of most significance. By so doing, it also seeks to contribute to the wider debate about the desirability and effectiveness of welfare-to-work policies.