The standard of living each person can enjoy depends on the sum total of available resources of time and money that she or he can control independently. The set of practices and institutions that we call the welfare state has a key role in reallocating money and time between people of different ages, wealth and sex, thus allowing them to achieve a given standard. It does this either by providing cash transfers or by providing public services, thus affecting the proportion of paid versus unpaid care work. By such redistribution the welfare state has contributed to reshaping women's roles, to changing the traditional division of labour within and outside of the family, and has affected gender relations between men and women in a variety of ways. The social notions of gender have changed as a result of these processes. 1 We may therefore discuss not just a ‘welfare state’, but a ‘welfare regime’, i.e. the configuration of practices producing care, including care produced in the home and by the market, as relevant for standards of living.