What is the impact of a Confucian welfare regime upon lone mothers in Taiwan?
This study explores the impact of a Confucian Welfare Regime upon lone mothers in Taiwan, where the family is promoted as the major welfare provider for individuals. Since the 1980s, politicians and welfare scholars --whether New Right or Third-Way-- in the West, particularly in the UK, have been very keen to draw lessons from the Confucian Welfare Model in East Asia. The characteristics of this welfare regime are categorised as "conservative corporatism without Western-style worker participation, solidarity without equality, laissez-faire without libertarianism, far too much social control but too little citizenship, far too little state intervention in welfare provision but too much familial welfare responsibilities"(e. g., Jones 1993). The Confucian Welfare State is in fact much deeply familialised, and the family is "the super-major welfare provider" compared to Western welfare states. This thesis will examine the Confucian Welfare Regime from the point of views of gender, and will argue that its distinctive fractures cannot be understood within existing Western comparative typologies and have not been adequately analysed in East Asian studies. How do lone mothers meet their needs within this deeply familialised welfare regime in comparison with lone fathers? In search of an answer, a qualitative approach, a feminist perspective and an East Asian standpoint were employed to conduct this study in the form of semi-structured interviews in the Taiwanese Confucian social context. The participants included 30 lone mothers and 10 lone fathers with unmarried dependent children undertaking full-time education. The situation of lone parents in combining unpaid care work: and paid work makes them a strong case for understanding the gendering of welfare regimes in the West and in East Asia. Thus the Mother-Worker-Family-Outsider Welfare Regime is created on the basis of women's' status as lifetime family outsiders in the Taiwanese social context. An understanding of this specific Confucian cultural arena is essential if we are to appreciate the situation of lone mothers-and its difference from that of lone fathers-in Taiwan. The main findings of this study confirm that the deeply familialised welfare provision affects women and men differently under the Generation-Age-Gender hierarchy of the Confucian family. The family, as the main welfare provider, is more likely to be effective for lone fathers, who are provided with more accessible childcare, childrearing, housework services, housing, financial investment and resources. They also benefit more from this familial provision to support their continuous employment experience, better career prospects and better entitlement to employment protection. But, in contrast, for the lone mothers in this study, the Confucian family is more likely to be the centre of care responsibilities for young and old, the heart of endless unpaid housework, the battlefield of domestic confrontations and sexual harassment, and the alter of sacrifice of individual well-being. The failure of the family in welfare provision also worsens the situation of lone mothers in- the labour market in terms of interrupted career, -low, wages, lower position in 'occupational hierarchy, more dead-end jobs, and more part-time work, and no or less employment protection. As a consequence of these inequalities the solutions for lone mothers are very different from those for lone fathers in this study. Thus, lone father see the reconstitution of the family via remarriage as their best solution. The retreat from marriage and the family is preferred by most lone mothers, who maintain their current status permanently. And the strategies of improving their human capital via more advanced education, establishing self-employed small business and undertaking extra part-time jobs with full-time work are adopted in order to combine mothering and rice-winning. These disadvantages experienced by lone mothers, seldom by lone fathers, have to be taken seriously into account in response to lone mothers' hopes of being equal and permanent lone parents, fully protected workers and full individual citizens. Therefore, the Mother-Worker-Family-Outsider Welfare Model needs to be transformed into the Parent-Worker-Full-Individual-Citizen Welfare Model based on the notion of "full individual citizens as parents and workers" instead of "family outsiders as selectively protected workers and non-recognised parents", by shifting welfare responsibilities from the family and the market onto the State.