There are many debates about individualisation. In this section of the journal we are most concerned to probe the nature of the concept itself and how it is gendered, and the extent to which ideas about individualisation are underpinning the extensive restructuring of social provision that has been going on in welfare states during the last decade. As a set of processes, individualisation has major implications for family formation, labour supply and gender equality. There is some evidence that policymakers' assumptions about the progress of individualisation are outrunning changes in behaviour on the part of both men and women, with particularly serious implications for women. There is also some evidence that other policy developments may lag behind women's aspirations for greater autonomy or impede their efforts to achieve greater economic independence.