All events in this series will be held at the ICOSS Building, University of Sheffield


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Gender, Care and Social Reproduction: why gender matters for care policy

Prof. Ruth Pearson & Prof. Sue Himmelweit
Women’s Budget Group

The Women’s Budget Group argues that the analysis of theoretical and policy issues about care requires a gendered understanding of the processes and institutions of the economy and society. Although often overlooked, care is a vital part of social reproduction, the way in which any society, including its roles and relationships, is reproduced. While other economists talk about the reproduction of productive roles and relationships, feminist economists have concentrated on what such accounts tend to ignore: the reproduction of people, their inevitable need for care at crucial times in their lives, and the changing roles of men and women in that process. Gendered roles and relationships over care both structure what it is possible for the economy to do, and are in turn affected by economic processes. Policy on care can therefore can have important economic effects, but may be a product of policy stances taken by those concerned by quite other issues (for example, neoliberalism is not typically defined by its stance on social reproduction, yet it has had significant effects on care).

A gendered analysis of care therefore requires going beyond a gendered breakdown of those needing, receiving giving and working in care activities to consider the ways in which our whole system of social reproduction is deeply gendered. This seminar will use such an argument in considering the overall direction of contemporary care policies. This will be evaluated for its impact not just on immediate care practices and on gender inequalities within them, but also for its likely effect on the reproduction of such gender inequalities. The seminar will go on to interrogate the ways in which care is different from other economic and social processes, and to consider why care has been marginalised in contemporary political discourse and debates.

Ruth Pearson is Emeritus Professor of International Development  at the University of Leeds.  Her research has focused in issues of women, employment, migration and care in the global economy. She has carried out empirical research in Mexico, Argentina, Cuba, Jamaica, Thailand and Myanmar, as well as extensive work on the UK and Western Europe. She is a Co-Chair of the Women’s Budget Group (  and co-author of the 2016 PSA Commission report on Care (

Other relevant publications include:  “Who Cares? Gender, Reproduction, and Care Chains of Burmese Migrant Workers in Thailand”, Feminist Economics, 18:2, 149-175; (2015, Pearson, R., & Elson, D. (2015). Transcending the impact of the financial crisis in the United Kingdom: Towards plan F—a feminist economic strategy. Feminist Review, (109), 8-30.;“A feminist analysis of neoliberalism and austerity in the UK” Soundings Spring 2019 

Susan Himmelweit is Emeritus Professor of Economics at the Open University and Visiting Professor at the Department of Gender Studies at the London School of Economics. She is a feminist economist who research focuses on intra-household inequalities, the economics and policy of caring and the gender implications of economic and social policy. She is the coordinator of the policy advisory group of the Women’s Budget Group (WBG), the UK’s gender budgeting think tank, and was its founding chair. In 2009, she was the President of the International Association for Feminist Economics. She is a member of the Progressive Economy Forum’s Council of Economic Advisors and is and of the WBG’s Commission on a Gender-Equal Economy.

She is a co-author of two reports by the Women’s Budget Group for the International Trade Union Confederation and UN Women, on Investing in the Care Economy and is author of ‘Gender Equality Impact Assessment: A Core Element of Gender Budgeting’ in Gender Budgeting in Europe, Developments and Challenges (eds Angela O’Hagan and Elisabeth Klatzer), Palgrave 2018. She co-edited Economics and Austerity in Europe: Gendered impacts and Sustainable Alternatives (Routledge, 2016) and Rethinking Britain: Policy Ideas for the Many, Policy Press (2019). Her writings on care policy include a chapter on ‘Transforming care’ in Laurie Macfarlane (ed), New Thinking for the British-Economy, Open Democracy (2018).

This seminar has been cancelled

Who Cares? Financialisation in social care

Harry is a Senior Research Fellow in the Work and the Welfare State team.

He heads up IPPR’s flagship Better Health and Care programme which looks to shape policy in the UK on the NHS, social care and public health. He was a lead author on the independent cross-party Lord Darzi Review which shaped the NHS Long-Term Plan and recent NHS funding settlement. He has also led the organisations work on austerity and public spending, and contributed to research on education, welfare and environmental policy.

Harry writes regularly for the GuardianTimes, Independent and New Statesman, and has appeared on radio and tv, including Sky and BBC news.

In addition to his role at IPPR, Harry also works for LGBT Consortium, the UK’s LGBT+ sector body. He was previously Director of Strategy at SCT, a homelessness and addictions charity and has worked at Global Counsel, a consultancy firm, and at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

He has a degree in economics from the University of York.

16:00- 17:30

Conference Room

Replacement care in supporting working carers

Dr David King & Prof. Nicola Brimblecombe
London School of Economics

Dr Derek King is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre at the London School of Economics & Political Science. Dr King’s current research emphases are demand and financing of long-term social care and cost-effectiveness analysis of health and social care interventions. He has collaborated with colleagues at the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre on a programme of work relating to unpaid care. Among the research undertaken within this programme were studies looking at the current and future demand for, and supply, of unpaid care, the role of public social care services to support carers remaining in employment, the role of adult social care services in improving employment, education outcomes and the wellbeing of young carers.

Nic Brimblecombe is Assistant Professorial Research Fellow in the Care Policy and Evaluation Centre, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Her main research focus is on unpaid/informal care, and she has recently started a study of unmet need for care and the impact on carers. Other work to date has incuded studies of  unpaid care and paid employment, young adult carers, and support for carers. Her other main research areas are young people’s mental health, impacts over the lifecourse, and health inequalities.

Relevant papers include:

Brimblecombe, N., Pickard, L., King, D. & Knapp, M. (2016) ‘Perceptions of unmet needs for services in England: A comparison of working carers and the people they care for’. Health and Social Care in the Community. Online version doi: 10.1111/hsc.12323

Brimblecombe, N., Pickard, L., King, D. & Knapp, M. (2017) ‘Barriers to receipt of social care services for working carers and the people they care for in times of austerity’. Journal of Social Policy 47(2), 215-233. doi:10.1017/S0047279417000277

Brimblecombe, N., Fernandez, JL, Knapp, M., Rehill, A. & Wittenberg, R. (2018) ‘Review of the international evidence on support for unpaid carers’, Journal of Long-Term Care, September, pp.25-40. doi:10.21953/lse.ffq4txr2nf

Pickard, L., Brimblecombe, N., King, D., and Knapp, M. (2018) ‘‘Replacement Care’ for Working Carers? A Longitudinal Study in England, 2013–15’. Social Policy & Administration, 52: 690– 709. doi:10.1111/spol.12345

Pickard, L., King, D., Brimblecombe, N., & Knapp, M. (2018) ‘Public expenditure costs of carers leaving employment in England, 2015/2016’ Health and Social Care in the Community, 26(1), 132-142

16:00- 17:30

Conference Room

16:00- 17:30

Conference Room

Carers and the failure of ‘identity’

Luke Clements is the Cerebra Professor of Law and Social Justice at the School of Law, Leeds University.  Luke helped draft and promote the Bills that became the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 and the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act 2004. In 2013 he was the Special Adviser to the Parliamentary Committee that scrutinised the draft Bill that resulted in the Care Act 2014.

Luke’s involvement in the programme relates primarily to its critical review of the conceptions of wellbeing and sustainability and its examination of how these concepts relate to care relationships.

Luke has written widely concerning ‘carers and the law’ – recent publications include:

  • 2017 Community Care & the Law Legal Action Group 6th edn: (Legal Action Group 2017).
  • 2016 Carers and their Rights – the law relating to carers (Carers UK).
  • 2013 Does your carer take sugar?  Carers and human rights: the parallel struggles of disabled people and carers for equal treatment in The Washington and Lee Journal of Civil Rights and Social Justice (2013) v19 pp397 – 434

For further information see and

For more information, contact Dr Kelly Davidge