Social Security, Gender and Class: The Impacts of the Universal Credit Conditionality Regime on Unpaid Care and Paid Work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The introduction of Universal Credit, a new means-tested benefit for working-aged people in the UK, entails a significant expansion of welfare conditionality. Due to mothers’ disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care, women are particularly affected by the new conditionality regime for parents who have the primary responsibility for the care of dependent children. This article draws upon qualitative longitudinal research with twenty-four mothers subject to the new conditionality regime to analyse the gendered impacts of this new policy and whether there is variation in experiences according to social class. The analysis demonstrates that the new conditionality regime devalues unpaid care and is of limited efficacy in improving sustained moves into paid work. It also shows that the negative gendered impacts of
the conditionality within Universal Credit are at times exacerbated for working-class mothers.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Policy and Society
Early online date28 Feb 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s), 2024

Cite this