Gender relations, as embodied in the sexual division of labor, compulsory heterosexuality, discourses and ideologies of citizenship, motherhood, masculinity and femininity, and the like, profoundly shape the character of welfare states. Likewise, the institutions of social provision the set of social assistance and social insurance programs, universal citizenship entitlements, and public services to which we refer as "the welfare state" affect gender relations in various ways. Although many recent studies of the welfare state use a comparative analysis to study the factors shaping the welfare state, few of these studies have paid systematic attention to gender. Similarly, most feminist work has not been systematically comparative. This paper summarizes the current state of understanding of the varying effects of welfare states on gender relations, and vice versa.
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