The Beveridge Report

Topics: William Beveridge, Welfare state, Unemployment Pages: 4 (1065 words) Published: May 23, 2011
1. Identify and discuss the objections that feminist commentators raised in response to the ‘special treatment’ of women in the 1942 Beveridge Report. (word count: 455)

Beveridge has been criticised significantly by feminists who see the Beveridge report as suppressing women and labelling them as being domesticated and dependant on men. They claim that the Beveridge report is sexist as it divides the sexes on a stereotypical basis such as men being the ‘bread winners’ or ‘earners of the family’ and women being housewives who take care of the home and children. Beveridge’s model of social security provision is an employment-based system of welfare entitlements to men and therefore has sexist implications that women will be domesticated and out of work.

In addition to this, feminists claim that Beveridge did not take family breakdowns into account or the life circumstances of divorced woman who have children in their care. Income support also put woman at a disadvantage by regarding the man as being eligible for financial benefits as opposed to treating both the residential male and female as valid recipients. ‘This is something which has in recent years become the object of a more systematic feminist critique of the “paternalism” of British welfare provision. It has indeed become fashionable in certain quarters to see the Beveridge-inspired reforms as essentially inspired by a male-centred vision of the labour market.’

Beveridge expresses his views that “the attitude of the housewife to full employment outside the home is not and should not be the same as that of a single woman.” This statement magnifies the justifications in the attitude of feminists towards Beveridge who enforced the political view of that time which was that women should be carers and housewives as opposed to men who were considered to be the earner of the family and therefore the more dominant sex.

Therefore Beveridge loses favour with the female societies who are now becoming more...
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