BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Filling in the middle: the “Workless” frame in action in UK welfare reform

    Richards-Gray, Laura (2023) Filling in the middle: the “Workless” frame in action in UK welfare reform. European Journal of Politics and Gender 6 (1), pp. 40-57. ISSN 2515-1088.

    Filling in the Middle Manuscript_Final version.pdf - Author's Accepted Manuscript

    Download (356kB) | Preview


    The gender-blind “workless” frame has been increasingly prominent in UK welfare discourse in recent decades and played a significant role in the political justification of Universal Credit (UC) – a key plank of UK welfare reform since 2013. Meanwhile, UC has been highlighted as problematic for gender equality. This article seeks to “fill in the middle” between the use of the “workless” frame in recent welfare discourse, including at the agenda-setting stage of UC, and the gendered implications of UC. It does this by analysing how the frame functions in government evaluation frameworks, impact assessments (including equality impact assessments) and in the implementation of UC (drawing on secondary analysis of interviews with claimants and focus groups with welfare practitioners). The analysis suggests that the “workless” frame is promoting gender rowback by de-gendering welfare, de-valuing care – particularly that performed by lone parents – and undermining the sharing of care in couple households.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copy edited version of an article published in European Journal of Politics and Gender. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at the link above.
    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: 05 Oct 2022 13:31
    Last Modified: 11 Mar 2024 17:54


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item