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Investing in Couple Relationship Education in the UK: A Gender Perspective

  • Liz van Acker (a1)


The UK Conservative–Liberal Democratic Coalition government has declared that marriage is imperative for society. This article examines couple relationship education (CRE), which aims to strengthen marriage and relationships. It argues that these programmes have potential because they offer opportunities for women and men to enhance their relationships through adult education that develops relationship skills and knowledge. For CRE to have a population level impact, however, knowledge of how to promote access to services designed for disadvantaged or vulnerable couples is critical. Gender disadvantage interacts with class, ethnicity, age and disability. Advocating marriage per se is too simplistic a solution to the complex problems of couples with diverse needs or low-income earners. If the government is serious about wanting to strengthen relationships and marriage, CRE would be a better investment if it was coordinated with policies and services such as balancing work and family and alleviating problems for low-income families.



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