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    Ode to an invisible woman: Qualified Adults or ‘partners’ in Ireland

    Murphy, Mary P. (2018) Ode to an invisible woman: Qualified Adults or ‘partners’ in Ireland. Irish Journal of Sociology, 26 (1). pp. 25-45. ISSN 0791-6035

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    Ireland used the Great Recession as an opportunity to pursue controversial reforms to lone parent social security payments while ignoring a significantly larger group of Irish women, qualified adults, the partners of coupled social welfare claimants. A review of the international literature about partners and recent policy trends is used to contextualise previously unpublished qualitative data capturing the practical experience of Irish partners and recent policy trends in relation to Irish partners. Despite the significant crisis-related rise in numbers of working aged qualified adults in Ireland, we see strong policy inertia in relation to this largely invisible group. The barriers to and lack of urgency for reform can be explained by several factors including fear of political backlash, ambiguous cultural norms about women’s roles, and practical capacity or lack of resources. The present policy architecture offers clear patriarchical dividends for male partners, employers and the policy elite, all of whom benefit from and remain attached to the concept of and the practice of a modified form of wifely labour. Policy avoidance cannot continue indefinitely, as reform of family-based welfare payments is central to resolving key policy problems including high participation rates and addressing child poverty. Options are briefly explored.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Ireland; partners; qualified adults; social security reform; wifely labour;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Sociology
    Item ID: 9322
    Identification Number:
    Depositing User: Dr. Mary Murphy
    Date Deposited: 29 Mar 2018 15:09
    Journal or Publication Title: Irish Journal of Sociology
    Publisher: Sage
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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