Unpaid care, welfare conditionality and expropriation

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    Welfare conditionality where social security payments are conditional on recipients undertaking tasks such as training, submitting job applications and taking part in “work-like” activities, is an enduring punitive feature of contemporary welfare provision in global North economics. In Australia, welfare conditionality or mutual obligation as it is commonly referred to, is continually targeted at specific groups such as single women and First Nations women. Drawing on fifteen in-depth interviews with women put on a mutual obligation program in Australia called ParentsNext, I examine the relationship between mutual obligation and the expropriation of women's unpaid care work. I argue that welfare conditionality targeted at First Nations women and non-First Nations women, reinforces and intensifies the expropriation of women's unpaid care work, as well as settler colonial expropriation. The expropriation of women's unpaid care work intensifies under ParentsNext in four notable ways–through punitive mutual obligation requirements, stigma, the privatization of community services and assisting ongoing settler colonial expropriation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1475-1489
    JournalGender, Work and Organization
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2021


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