Gender justice and the welfare state in post-communism

Feminist Theory 9 (2):185-206 (2008)
Some Romanian feminist scholars argue that welfare policies of post-communist states are deeply unjust to women and preclude them from reaching economic autonomy. The upshot of this argument is that liberal economic policy would advance feminist goals better than the welfare state. How should we read this dissonance between Western and some Eastern feminist scholarship concerning distributive justice? I identify the problem of dependency at the core of a possible debate about feminism and welfare. Worries about how decades of communism have shaped citizenry feed feminists' suspicion of the welfare state and fears of paternalist policies. I criticize the arguments in favour of neoliberal policies and I suggest a crucial distinction between legitimate, universal forms of human dependency and dependencies that result from particular social arrangements.
Keywords care  gender justice  Romania  welfare state
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