Promoting Gender Equality Through a Citizens' Basic Income

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* Article: Rethinking Work and Income Maintenance Policy: Promoting Gender Equality Through a Citizens' Basic Income. By Ailsa McKay. Feminist Economics, Volume 7, 2001 - Issue 1, Pages 97-118



"A citizens' basic income scheme is based on the principles of individuality, universality, and unconditionality; when combined with the notion of meeting "basic needs" it would serve to provide a minimum income guarantee for all adult members of society. However, implementation would entail radical reform of existing patterns of welfare delivery and would bring into question the institutionalized relationship between work and welfare, a basic premise of modern welfare states. To date, the debate over a citizens' basic income has emphasized its effects on labor markets, thereby displaying an androcentric bias. Although the role of women in society is central to social policy reform, the existing basic income literature is disturbingly void of any comprehensive treatment of women. No genuine discussion has taken place about the nature of women's lives and work and how these should be valued. Social policy reform should take account of all gender inequalities and not just those relating to the traditional labor market. This paper argues that the citizens' basic income model can be a tool for promoting gender-neutral social citizenship rights, but that any future marriage of justice and efficiency must first divorce work from income."