This article deconstructs New Labour's emerging workfarist regime to reveal the complex and contradictory gender relations embodied in and through its work-welfare policy. Starting from the decline of manufacturing employment within the UK, it traces the deregulation of the labour market and the range of structural and social changes initiated by this process. Noting, in particular, how the 'feminisation of the economy' is connected to the changing characteristics of employment and women's socio-economic positions, the article identifies the manner in which the growing labour market participation of women is serving to (further) entrench gender inequality. Against this background, it proceeds to raise issues regarding the increased expectation to enter the labour market observed within programmes such as the New Deals for the Unemployed, which stipulate that the receipt of state benefits ought now to require a labour input. The crux of analysis is on the policy and political discourses that award priority to paid work in the formal labour market, whilst simultaneously neglecting the gendered divisions of labour around unwaged care work and domestic tasks. In suggesting that gender remains a key form of political-economic organisation in the contemporary period of after-Fordism, this article argues that (further) attention must be given to the ways in which its socially constructed properties are manifest within work-welfare policy and the ramifications of this embedding for social and economic equality.
|Translated title of the contribution||Engendering New Labour's Workfarist Regime: Exploring the Intersection of Welfare State Restructuring and Labour Market Policies in the UK|
|Pages (from-to)||721 - 743|
|Number of pages||23|
|Journal||Gender, Place and Culture|
|Publication status||Published - Dec 2007|