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.
This report and series of policy briefs emanate from a workshop held in Oxford in October 2009, in which political scientists and legal experts examine the impact of recent hard times on the social contract.
The issues are addressed from a range of perspectives, including measures for effective redistribution through social welfare programmes in Europe, loyalty benefits in the Middle East, and the need for a global social contract to encompass Africa and the developing world.
A report of a workshop held in Oxford in June 2008.
Recently, the social contract has been seen as a device for identifying the moral principles that ought to govern relations both amongst the members of society, and between the members of the society and their government. There is more emphasis placed here on the positive moral principles that ought to govern the political arena.