Incomplete RevolutionAdapting Welfare States to Women's New Roles
Incomplete Revolution
Adapting Welfare States to Women's New Roles

Our future depends very much on how we respond to three great challenges of the new century, all of which threaten to increase social inequality: first, how we adapt institutions to the new role of women - the 'incomplete revolution' of our time; second, how we prepare our children for the knowledge economy; and, third, how we respond to the new demography, in particular low fertility and an ageing population.

In this new book Gøsta Esping-Andersen - the leading analyst of the welfare state - examines how different societies have responded to these challenges. It focuses especially on the quest for gender equality, on the role of families in the reproduction of social inequalities, and on major inequities associated with an ageing population. Through comparative analysis he seeks to identify the kinds of welfare state reform that can optimize not only individuals' life chances but also collective welfare. The intellectual ambition is, in other words, to identify the mainsprings of a new and superior form of social equilibrium.

This book will be of great interest to anyone concerned with gender and the changing role of women, with social and public policy, and with the future of the welfare state.

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  • August 2009
  • 200 pages
  • 160 x 237 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $72.75
  • 9780745643151
  • Paperback $26.00
  • 9780745643168
Table of Contents

List of illustrations



Part One. The Challenges

Chapter 1. Families and the Revolution in Women’s Roles

Chapter 2. The New Inequalities

Part Two. Welfare State Adaptation

Chapter 3. Adapting Family Policy to the Female Revolution

Chapter 4. Investing in Children and Equalizing Opportunities

Chapter 5. Ageing and Equity

An Afterword



About the Author
Gosta Esping-Andersen is Professor of Sociology at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona
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'An outstanding contribution to contemporary debates about the future direction of the welfare state in the advanced Western world...Esping-Andersen writes extremely lucidly and well and both his thesis and his recommendations are very plausible. This is the kind of book that makes one feel that the sociological enterprise really is worthwhile.'
Political Studies Review

'The Incomplete Revolution strongly enhances our understanding of the making and unmaking of unequal life chances. And last but not least, it is a surprisingly entertaining read.'
European Sociological Review

'Esping-Andersen's book confirms his position as one of the most brilliant social scientists of the last decades. His latest work is an invaluable contribution which helps to bridge the gap between demography, public policy and sociology, and provide a comprehensive frame of reference for understanding the potential revolutionary impact of the changing role of women.'
Work, Employment and Society

'A fascinating book. Esping-Andersen's contention that good policy reforms must begin with babies is provocative, imaginative and timely. A bold exposition of the unplanned consequences for family, fertility and ageing of the incomplete revolution of women's new roles.'
Professor Jacqueline Scott, University of Cambridge

'In this sweeping and provocative new book, Gosta Esping-Andersen brilliantly pulls together evidence from demography, economics, sociology, and child development to argue that the revolution in women’s roles, if not addressed by reforms to the welfare state, will lead to increased inequality for current and future generations.'
Jane Waldfogel, Columbia University

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