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Gender Theory on Welfare State - Dictionary of Arguments

Gaus I 278
Welfare state/Gender theory/Mottier: Scandinavian authors such as Drude Dahlerup (1987)(1), Birte Siim (1988)(2), and Helga Hernes (1984(3); 1987(4)) argue that the welfare state has a positive effect on gender relations, in that it makes for a lessening of financial dependency of women towards men. Liberalism: Liberal authors defend a similarly more benign view, in that they conceptualize
the liberal state as a neutral arbiter between groups rather than as an instrument of male domination (see also Waylen, 1998)(5).
Institutionalization/femocracy: other analyses, developed particularly in the Australian, Dutch and Scandinavian context, argue that the state offers scope for the subversion and transformation of gendered power relations. They emphasize the possibilities of institutionalization - and therefore of promotion - of women's interests within the state, either through the action of 'femocrats' (feminist bureaucrats) working from within the state system to empower women, or when the state itself acts in a way to further women's status (Stetson and Mazur 1995)(6).
Gender mainstreaming: in this context, an important policy tool has been gender mainstreaming, by which is meant the systematic incorporation of gender concerns into policies rather than as an 'afterthought' or, alternatively, the emphasis on gender issues in specific policies. >State/Poststructuralism, >State/Gender Theory.


1. Dahlerup, Drude (1987) 'Confusing concepts - confusing reality: a theoretical discussion of the patriarchal state'. In A. Showstack Sassoon, ed., Women and the State.
London: Routledge, 93-127.
2. Siim, Birte (1988) 'Towards a feminist rethinking of the welfate state'. In Kathleen B. Jones and Anna G. Jonasdottir, eds, The Political Interests of Gender. London: Sage, 160—86.
3. Hernes, Helga (1984) 'Women and the welfare state: the transition from private to public dependence'. In H. Holter, ed., Patriarchy in a Welfare Society. Oslo: Universitetsvorlag, 26—44.
4.Hernes, Helga (1987) State and Woman Power. Oslo: Norwegian University Press.
5. Stetson, D. and A. Mazur, eds (1995) Comparative State Feminism. London: Sage.

Véronique Mottier 2004. „Feminism and Gender Theory: The Return of the State“. In: Gaus, Gerald F. & Kukathas, Chandran 2004. Handbook of Political Theory. SAGE Publications


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Gender Theory
Gaus I
Gerald F. Gaus
Chandran Kukathas
Handbook of Political Theory London 2004


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