The implications for gender equality of three regimes are compared: a low tax-low benefit regime, a regime of Basic Income Grants (BIG), and a welfare state offering a generous menu of in-kind and cash benefits concentrated on people with special needs, but not including lengthy paid parental leave. It is argued that the special needs of women, particularly lone mothers, make the welfare state regime superior in promoting gender equality to a regime with BIG benefits, which spreads its cash benefits equally to all citizens. Further, the reductions in labor force commitment that BIG fosters (and which lengthy paid parental leave also fosters) would reverse the progress women have made in the labor market. That progress is the main basis for women's improved status, and undermining it may even make a BIG regime inferior to the low benefits regime in its effect on gender equality.
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