The Welfare state and the gender dissimilarity index in homelessness. A comparison of Norway, Belgium and Poland
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This article investigates the structural underpinnings of gender dissimilarities in homelessness from a comparative perspective. The Gender Dissimilarity Index is introduced as a simple measure for quantifying the unevenness of the distribution of men and women across the ETHOS-light categories. Three gendered aspects of the welfare state are considered and compared for Norway, Belgium, and Poland: employment and childcare, housing, and homelessness policies. Based on available data, it appears that the most uneven distribution of genders may indicate a combination of the promotion of the male breadwinner model and relatively broad support for people who are homeless, but also the shortage of affordable housing. A more gender-balanced homeless population may be the result of a combination of housing-led approaches and degenderising policies. However, a similar distribution may be attributed to states with implicitly genderising policies coupled with ‘traditional’ attitudes towards gender roles and a lack of adequate responses to women’s needs.
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