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Gender has become a culturally laden signifier. Sometimes used to differentiate the social from the biological, gender itself has become gendered. In common parlance gender issues often slide inexorably into women's issues and are in that way designated as marginal and outside the concerns and lives of ordinary men and women. In this text, signifiers such as gender, worker and family are unpacked and suggestions are made as to how common usage of these signifiers reinforce existing practices and act as barriers to change. Some of the changes are legal, others are social and others are driven by political and policy agendas. By looking at five areas: equal opportunity law, family law, industrial relations law, social welfare law and taxation law, which are all profoundly gendered, the author examines ways in which men and women see their roles and choices and how these are related to the state, as citizens. She then examines the definition of citizenship and looks in detail at the concept of the unencumbered citizen, who is unencumbered by interpersonal obligations, responsibilities and beliefs, using comparative material from Australia, North America and the United Kingdom.