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    Political discourse and gendered welfare reform: a case study of the UK coalition government

    Richards-Gray, Laura (2022) Political discourse and gendered welfare reform: a case study of the UK coalition government. Journal of Elections, Public Opinion & Parties 32 (2), pp. 358-376. ISSN 1745-7289.

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    In the UK, as in many other countries, welfare reform in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis has had a detrimental effect on gender equality. Between 2010 and 2015 the UK Coalition government initiated far-reaching cuts to public spending, as well as an increase in welfare conditionality. These reforms have hit women harder than men as they are more likely to rely on welfare benefits and services due to unpaid care responsibilities. Many have suggested that the way in which issues are represented by policymakers can limit what can be conceived as appropriate policy solutions. In line with this, Bacchi’s What’s the problem represented to be? (WPR) approach is used in this article to interrogate the way in which welfare was problematised by the UK Coalition government. Findings suggest that the Coalition’s represented reform as necessary to make work pay, with ‘work’ promoted as paid work and unpaid care work (predominantly undertaken by women) ignored. It also highlights the ways in which the Coalition’s promotion of paid work silenced the necessity and value of care, allowing for the implementation of welfare reforms which have disproportionately disadvantaged women and exacerbated gender inequality.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis, available online at the link above.
    Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Welfare, welfare reform, discourse, gender, women, Coalition government
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences
    Research Centres and Institutes: Birkbeck Centre for British Political Life
    Depositing User: Laura Richards-Gray
    Date Deposited: 04 May 2020 10:53
    Last Modified: 13 Feb 2024 11:05


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