The Beveridge Report On The British Welfare State

Decent Essays

suggesting that it would be inappropriate for them to desire domestic pursuits in the place of full-time employment. Either way, the categorization of people into separate and distinct groups, as employed by the Beveridge Report, delegitimizes the experience of those individuals, both male and female, who do not conform to such categories. While its influence in shaping the British welfare state cannot be negated, the Beveridge Report conceals several troubling issues in terms of its treatment of women, in addition to its tendency to overlook the experience of working women. In particular, throughout the report women are often depicted as subordinate to and dependent on men, often in ways that are not immediately apparent. In a section …show more content…

This idea was, and remains, damaging for women, as it perhaps even undermined the self-confidence of 1950s women in their ability to provide for themselves or their families without the aid of a man. Even at the most basic level of language use, the Beveridge Report is written in such a way that it positions women as dependent on and subordinate to men. For example, when referred to as a collective, a couple is described as "a man and a wife." This is notable because it immediately reveals a difference of status between the two parties. While the man is described using a qualifier of his gender, the woman is described with a qualifier of her legal status. As such, this implicitly positions the woman as subordinate to the man, as if, as his wife, she is his legal possession. Moreover, it once again reinforces the destructive notion that a woman 's most notable feature is her status as a housewife. The report often stresses that a couple must operate as a cohesive unit in order to ensure the smooth functioning of a household, and yet frequently uses language that reveals that the partners of such a conjugal relationship were not considered to be equals. If they were, the report would have employed language such as "a husband and a wife" or "a man and a woman" to suggest that both individuals within a marriage play an equally importance role within the household, and within society at large. It is indeed possible that this language use

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