T13P04 - Gendered Innovations in Public Policy Research

Topic : Gender, Diversity and Public Policy

Panel Chair : Jennifer Curtin - j.curtin@auckland.ac.nz

Panel Second Chair : Jackie Steele - jfsteeleresearch@gmail.com

Objectives and Scientific Relevance of the panel

Call for papers

Session 1 Gendered Policy Innovations


Marian Sawer - marian.sawer@anu.edu.au - ANU - Australia

Gender and old age policies: an analytic framework

Lea Sgier - sgierl@ceu.edu - Central European University - Hungary

In our ageing society, old age policies are an increasingly important policy field, and generally a strongly gendered one: not only because old age demographics are clearly gendered (with women living longer and a majority of carers being women, for instance), but also because old age comes with gendered representations of what it is to be a "proper" old man or woman. This paper is an attempt to propose an analytic framework allowing to account for this gender dimension in a systematic way, taking into account the key dimensions of gender (gender and sexual categories, constructions of feminity and masculinity and of normative heterosexuality, etc.).

It draws insights from various elements of the literature, such as critical feminist policy analysis (McPhail), critical frame analysis (Verloo et al.), gender mainstreaming, and the capability approach (Sen, Nussbaum), while relating them to two concrete projects dealing with old age policies in Switzerland: a National Science Foundation project on comparative dementia policy in the Swiss cantons, and a smaller project on how nursing homes can support older people's political citizenship. 

“Sprinkle with Gender and Stir:” Gender Based Analysis Plus in Canada

Hankivsky Olena - intersectionality.institute@gmail.com - Simon Fraser University - Canada

Mussell Linda - 15lm41@queensu.ca - Queen's University - Canada

In the last decade, much debate has occurred at the international level regarding the innovation of Gender Mainstreaming (GM), its efficacy, and future utility (Bacchi and Eveline 2009; Crespi 2009; Hankivsky 2013; Kantola 2010; Walby 2011; Zalewski 2010). Similar discussions have taken place in Canada where GM has predominantly been operationalized in the form of Gender-Based Analysis (GBA). In all jurisdictions, including Canada, there is a push to learn from early GM efforts and a renewed focus on creating mainstreaming strategies that are more responsive to the needs of differently situated individuals and diverse groups of women and men.


This paper examines and takes stock of a second generation of mainstreaming approaches (Gender Based Analysis Plus, or GBA+) to advance equity in the context of public policy in Canada. It seeks to analyze the rationale and processes for the development of the second generation mainstreaming, assess the strengths and limitations of gender (and equalities) mainstreaming in the context of Canada, and constructively critique contemporary approaches to gendered policy development. Informing this discussion is a review of the literature on this topic in Canada, and thematic analysis of interviews with forty-four experts in Canadian government, academia, and the voluntary sector. Key emergent themes from analysis include success stories in the Canadian context, the integration of intersectional principles in gendered work, and strategies to overcome resistance to gendered innovations in government. This research is the newest addition to a larger comparative project examining GM strategies in the UK, Sweden, and Canada.

Gendered innovations start from trendsetters

Tamara Gromova - gromovatamara01@gmail.com - Saint-Petersburg State University, School of Journalism and Mass Communications - Russia (Russian Federation)

Innovations are important, integral part of our life. The rapid rate of social environment renewal requires greater attention to social phenomena that includes gender perspective. Two fields are combined in the paper: gender (as social category), and one of the parts of the process of diffusion of innovation. Basing on the theory of "Diffusion of innovations" (Rogers 1996) author points out that gender affected innovations can be revealed at the "trendsetter" level. Therefore the definition, main features, and sociological portrait of the trendsetter are determined in the paper. Empirical study is based on how women trendsetters are displayed in the field of mass media in the European segment of the Internet. It should be noted that due to the universality of “diffusion of innovations" theory (Rogers 1996) as it is used in a wide range of disciplines (ex. social sciences, political sciences, etc.) provides a conceptual framework for research within gender perspective. We analyze English-language online text versions of print publications of European countries (based on the statistics on the number of Internet users) - Britain, France and Germany (continuous sampling of five publications from 01.05.2008 to 01.05.2016). Comparative table made after the content analysis showed up the possible use of European media-markers “trendsetter” and “early adopter” through affiliation with “femininum” and “masculinum”. Phenomenon of woman-trendsetter is currently under development, and there is a tendency towards a full-fledged functioning of the chosen gender differentiated definitions.

Social Investment: Contrasting Interpretations by the OECD and the World Bank

Rianne Mahon - prmahon@rogers.com - Balsillie School of International Affairs - Canada

Although the OECD and the World Bank are often (rightly) associated with the diffusion of ideas and practices underpinning neoliberal globalisation, a closer examination of their policy discourses over the last decade suggests that they have clearly gone beyond brute neoliberalism to embrace the idea of social investment. There are, however, different versions of the social investment paradigm, some of which are consistent with the core premises of neoliberalism, whereas others share the more egalitarian premises of the Keynesian era. Such differences are reflected in how early childhood development and the gendered implications thereof are interpreted. The World Bank's neoliberal version, directed at the Global South, draws especially on the American social policy model, which emphasizes provision through the market, with limited public support targeted at the very poor. It thus ignores the implications for gender equality associated with its favoured programs such as conditional cash transfers (CCTs). In contrast, the OECD's discourse, directed at its member states, exhibits the stronger influence of Western European, especially Scandinavian, experience, where the norms of universality and gender equality remain important.

History, Institutions and Feminist Policy Actors: A review of gendered innovations in public policy research

Jennifer Curtin - j.curtin@auckland.ac.nz - University of Auckland - New Zealand

This paper reviews the work of feminist scholars who have expanded the analytic reach of historical institutionalism by engaging with the idea that gendered “history matters”.  In this body of work, we find important critiques of traditional understandings of what counts as institutionally “new”, and how gendered rules and norms are revealed, remedied, embedded or rescinded, and the opportunities and constraints they offer ‘insiders’ and ‘outsiders’ in the pursuit of gender equality. These feminist analyses have begun to build a tradition of their own, at a theoretical level, and empirically through their use of in-depth case studies, enriching knowledge of the settings and sequences required to advance gender equality policy, and the (feminist) actors and activism of import to this process.  In this paper I trace these intellectual developments and, evaluate the contribution gendered innovations in policy research and analysis have made to the field of public policy over time.


Session 2 Gendered Policy Innovations


Rianne Mahon - prmahon@rogers.com - Balsillie School of International Affairs - Canada

Fear, Anxiety, and Collective National Imaginary: immigration policy discourse and migrant care workers in Japan

Ito Peng - itopeng@chass.utoronto.ca - University of Toronto - Canada

Rural Japan is faced with a serious dilemma: on the one hand rural population ageing and the flight of young people (particularly women) have become so extensive that only proactive immigration policy or active intake of foreign care workers seem like the only effective measures; but on the other hand, the idea of raising rural population through immigration or having a large number of foreign care workers to care for frail elderly remains unpopular, dubious, and unlikely to happen any time soon. Why is it that in the face of such dire need, Japanese remain resolutely unsupportive of immigration as a solution to their ageing and depopulation problems? We undertook in-depth interviews with thirty-nine policy stakeholders and opinion leaders in Yamanashi prefecture – a typical rural prefecture in Japan – to ascertain why the intake of foreign care worker remain unpopular despite the expressed needs for them in that region. We find that immigration and foreign workers pose both real and imagined threat to these people’s sense of national identity and cultural heritage, the idea of which appears to be deeply informed by elite and media discourses. These results support recent studies that argue the role of national identity and ideas about care in shaping public attitudes towards foreign care workers and immigration policy.

Gendered innovation in climate change policy research: a feminist approach for integrated transformative changes.

Maryse Helbert - chelbert@unimelb.edu.au - University of Melbourne - Australia

Our society is facing one of its biggest challenges: A global environmental crisis. To be able to face this challenge, there will need good public policy hence good public policy research. As MacGregor argues, women are much more susceptible to the global environmental crisis, not only in the global south but also in developed countries. There is also a lack of women in major climate change negotiation tables such as the COP or the C40. Most of the policy research and actions about women and climate change are directed toward the global South in order to help them to adapt and/or mitigate to the global environmental crisis negative impacts. Feminist research needs to go beyond adapting and mitigating and provide gender dimensions of the global environmental crisis debates. What are needed are feminist inputs in the way institutions (local, national or global) are responding to the challenge of tackling the global environmental crisis.  To follow McGregor argument, what is needed is a feminist input into the way the social and political forces interrogate and shape the global environmental crisis. Examples will be provided to show the conceptual gaps in these interrogations. First, policies provided to tackle climate change seems to be orientated toward the household, pushing women to be climate change responsible when purchasing goods for the household. As women do most of the chores in the house, the more the climate change policies will be orientated toward the private entities, the more women will bear the burden. Another example would be about the limited availability of natural resources. In providing policies to tackle climate change, care needs to be taken about the overuse of natural resources by the rich countries. Last, the gender dimensions of science to tackle climate change need to be questioned. To address this topic, this presentation will use an ecofeminist approach, drawing connections between the exploitation of women and the exploitation of nature.

The metagovernance of public policy networks for gender equity: lessons learned from Medellin-Colombia

Andres Olaya - Candres16@hotmail.com - EAFIT University - Colombia

Santiago Leyva - sleyvabo@eafit.edu.co - Colombia

Gender equity is a broad and comprehensive goal that involves all aspects of human life in society. For public policy studies, this means that there are many issues, agendas, actors and conflicts that somehow relate to this goal. In fact, some of these issues can advance unevenly and contradictorily in different arenas of public policy. For example, a country can pass progressive legislation on sexual and reproductive rights for women and, at the same time, be inequitable in issues related whit distribution or income and political power (glass ceilings). This implies that conventional forms of governance concentrated exclusively on state, market, community or family mechanisms are insufficient to achieve true gender equity. In this sense, this paper presents three great lessons learned in the construction of the gender equity policy in Medellín-Colombia. First, it shows that building the causal relations of issues involved with gender equity is a major problem. Therefore, it seriously questions the uncritical adoption of discourses and causal relations pre-established by international agencies such as the UN (CEDAW, Beijing 1995), the ECLAC, or the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Second, it points out how the formulation of a policy of gender equity should privilege the construction of policy networks across different sectors of government, firms, communities and families if it really wants to achieve gender mainstreaming. Finally, and taking up all of the above, this paper proposes that for the effective implementation of this policy, it should adopt a network management approach based on metagovernance. This means recognizing that the local state alone cannot achieve a goal that involves all aspects of human life in society. Therefore, the local state must metagovern other actors of the market, society and the family to implement this policy and thus reach the difficult but indispensable goal of gender equality between women and men.

Gender-Based Violence in the Conflict Setting: Approaches to Policy Response in Ukraine

Ganna Gerasymenko - geranna@ukr.net - Institute for Demography and Social Studies, NAS of Ukraine - Ukraine

Globally, gender-based violence (GBV) is regarded among major violations of human rights. It is widely acknowledged that risks of GBV are increasing at times of armed conflict and humanitarian crisis. Unavailability of prevention-response services, a lack of law enforcement and health facilities result in the increased vulnerability of survivors, while the problem is not always regarded as life-saving priority. In addition, prevalence of poverty and social deprivations could lead to expansion of survival sex, forced prostitution and human trafficking. Thus, incorporating of gender approaches to humanitarian policy response is essential in the conflict resolution.

The proposed paper presents the results of a case study conducted in the conflict-affected regions of eastern Ukraine in 2015-2016. A particular attention will be paid to the study approach, design of the study tools and lessons learnt. The key findings of the special GBV prevalence survey and quality assessments will be presented, as well as analysis of policy interventions to responde the challenge.

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