Oslo Summer School in Comparative Social Science Studies 1997

Women and Social Policy

Main discipline: Sociology
Lecturer: Professor Jane Lewis
Institution: All Souls College, Oxford, UK
Dates: 28 July - 1 August, 1997

This course investigates the role of women in the development of European welfare states, with particular emphasis on social policies. It discusses the extent to which welfare states may be seen as patriarchal, investigates the impact of women on the building of welfare states, and considers the implications for the construction of welfare state typologies. Furthermore, trends in the development of women's paid employment and unpaid work in the postwar period are analyzed. The growth of lone mother families is given special attention. The course also discusses the role of the state in regard to reproductive health and asks whether women's poverty is different to that of men. Family policies in Europe and the U. S. are compared, leading on to final questions such as whether the state has usurped the role of the family, and what equality for women may mean.

Basic reading

The lecturers
Professor Jane Lewis has a long-standing interest in the history of gender issues and public health. Among her early books are The Politics of Motherhood: Maternal and Child Welfare in England, 1900-1939 (1980) and What Price Community Medicine? The Philosophy and Practice of Public Health since 1919 (1986). Her more recent work has focused on the provision of community care, as in her book with Barbara Meredith, Daughters who Care (1988) and her book with Howard Glennerster, Implementing the New Community Care (1996). She has also studied various aspects of the history of women and social policy, notably in the books Women and Social Action in late Victorian and Edwardian England (1991), Woman in Britain since 1945 (1992) and The Voluntary Sector, the State and Social Work in Britain (1995)]. She is at present finishing a book on lone motherhood in twentieth century Britain and is starting a new project on the boundary between health and social care in the post-war period.