European, North American and Australasian welfare states are not being retrenched as much as restructured. Gender relations and changes in the social construction of individuals and families form a key dimension of this restructuring. Significantly, social changes associated with gender have worked to extend and reshape welfare states, to respond to new claims and political constituencies, at the same time that other forces have sought to contract them. How secure are women's welfare state gains likely to be in an era of retrenchment and reform? This paper describes and compares the restructuring of the gender models of the Australian and Swedish welfare states in the 1980s and 1990s. It considers three questions in particular: how have the gender models changed in this period; how has the restructuring of gender been situated in wider social policy change; and how securely established are these changes?