Beveridge Report and the Influence from German Social Insurance System

Wakana BABA, Keio University

This paper will focus on the Beveridge Report (1942), which has been called the blueprint for the welfare state and prompted the establishment of welfare states in many industrialised countries. In classifying the insured, Beveridge proposed a separate category for housewives, as well as home help as a social service to share the costs of family care. The report is said to be the 'first' to present the viewpoint that the role of married women as housewives and mothers should be regarded as 'unpaid work' and that they should be provided with commensurate benefits. However, there was a country that had been practicing home help and incorporating it into the social insurance for almost half a century before the report: Germany. This paper will analyse the early years of Beveridge's career, when the ideas that form the basis of his report are said to have been developed, with particular attention to his visit to Germany in 1907, and then focus on his essays to elucidate the forming process of ideas that led to the establishment of the 'housewife' as a category of the insured and the proposal of the benefit of home help. Finally, I will also analyse his own evaluation of the social security system realised in post-war Britain and the social movements he was involved in during the 1950s, from which his view of the family can be extracted. As historical sources, I will use unpublished Beveridge documents held in the LSE Library and essays on social insurance and the family he wrote from the 1900s to the inter-war period.

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 Presented in Session 63. Gender and the State