There are currently nearly 100 research members divided into six issue or subject networks: Care, Employment, Gender Based Violence, Immigration, Intimate Citizenship and Political Representation.
Implementing care policies to advance inclusive gender equality
The redistribution and recognition of care work are key factors to promoting gender equality across societies. Both require profound transformations in the social organization of care and the role played by a wide set of societal and institutional actors (men, state, employers, NGOs). However, care is still generally discussed by policy-makers as a women’s issue that has relevance mostly in relation to childbearing. Recent developments in this field also point in contradictory directions. While redistribution is targeted by the emergence of political discourses around men and fatherhood, these are often accompanied by cut-backs in state support and financial benefits which have gendered and intersectional impacts. This lack of financial support for care perpetuates its low symbolic and material value in societies. New (or lack of) legislation has also promoted in many countries the creation of vast markets of precarious jobs for migrant domestic workers. Intersectional power dynamics are thus central in care policies.
This GEPP issue network examines care policies in practice by investigating their implementation in different national contexts and how this contributes to reinforce or diminish gender and other inequalities. Our focus is on elder care policies but we will also explore issues related to childcare and other care policies. Some of the driving questions addressed by this network are: How does policy implementation in relation to the social organization of care shape patterns of inequality for various groups of individuals? How does implementation promote gender role transformation? What is the influence of the choice of instruments and policy frames (e.g. gendering/degendering) on the implementation process? How does the variety of institutional and civil society actors operating in multilevel settings shape policy implementation? What are the political dynamics of domination, resistance and empowerment? And how are the adoption and post-adoption phases related in care policies?
Working toward gender equality: Policy empowerment and gender transformation
In this network, we focus on the implementation of public policies that target gender equality in the paid labor force in Europe (France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Scotland, Spain, Sweden) and Canada. Given the high policy priority given to issues of vertical segregation, i.e., women on executive boards, and glass ceiling initiatives, all of our contributors focus on this case of policy implementation in their country. Researchers select the policy with greatest implementation impact on gender-based discrimination in paid labor for the second case, including family leave, equal pay, and equal treatment among others.
Following the GEPP framework, we assess to what degree the instruments and outputs of policy implementation for each of the two country cases were actually taken up by policy actors inside and outside the state in practice and whether policy actors were empowered in the complex process of policy implementation, both substantively and descriptively. Going beyond the implementation process, researchers will examine whether, and to what extent the practice of policy implementation over-time transformed gender norms and attitudes about paid employment by assessing the impact of the policies in terms of the enhanced of gender equality, the way implementors approached their responsibilities and whether gender norms in society at large were changed. The comparative framework will allow a systematic analysis of the major conditions for successful or failed policy implementation and impacts, including whether the outputs and practice of policy implementation actually mattered the most in relation to other crucial factors for the employment arena, like economic hard-times, the presence of left-wing majorities, women’s movement mobilization or an active trade union movement.
The convenors aim to publish a co edited volume of the work of the network in late 2018 or early 2019 with a magistral theory building chapter, country chapters on the stories of equal employment policy implementation in all of the countries in the network and a concluding comparative theory-building analysis. On the way to producing the final manuscript, we will be proposing panels of our in progress research for the European Conference on Gender and Politics and the American Political Science Meetings in 2018. We are also looking to produce a special issue for a refereed journal.
Violence against women includes a wide variety of forms of gender-based violence (GBV), including domestic violence, sexual assault and rape, stalking, sexual harassment, sex trafficking, forced marriage, crimes committed in the name of “honour” and female genital mutilation. (FGM) While these form of violence are connected to each other by being embedded in gender inequality, different aspects of violence are sometimes regulated by distinct policies, and sometimes by policies that shape multiple areas. Analyzing policies that address GBV/VAW after they have been adopted, then, means looking at a wide variety of policies, some of which might be criminal policies, labor policies, or criminal justice and anti-corruption policies. International standards also vary for different forms of VAW/GBV: while trafficking and sexual harassment are part of European “hard law,” rape, domestic violence or FGM are not.
A series of common themes emerge that can drive research on how gender based violence policies work in practice. These include: the tendency to use gender-neutral language to frame these issues in policies adopted at the domestic level, while keeping a gender-specific focus when it comes to implementation nevertheless; the centrality of women’s rights advocates in all stages of the policy process concerning GBV and their role in maintaining a focus on women in post-adoption processes; the danger of displacement of the gender equality content of these policies by other policy objectives; issues concerning data-collection and measurement and resulting difficulties in monitoring and evaluating policies; complexity of cooperation and coordination between the high number of stake-holders; the difficulty of maintaining a feminist focus on victims in policy implementation; integrating intersectionality into policy practice .
Research in this area will aim to focus on specific forms of violence, as well as their commonalities and distinctiveness, in a variety of countries: East, North, South and continental Europe as well as US and Canada.
How to overcome gender-based inequalities and exclusions?
Immigration has been a highly disputed issue on the agenda of many European as well as non-European states. Debates about the “end of multiculturalism”, about migration from East to West within the European Union, about demographic changes and the need for (short-term) labour migration, and recently the movements of refugees from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan caused a myriad of new legislation. On one hand we see a move towards restrictive immigration policies – symbolized by fences around the EU – and on the other hand towards selectively managed labour migration. Especially asylum laws came under fire, but nevertheless, some countries grant asylum on the grounds of gender specific and sexuality-based persecution. Women are fleeing in order to protect their basic human rights. It may refer to individual women seeking protection against gender-based violence, torture and rape and women, who fight against gender discrimination of girls in marriage and education in their country of origin. It may also refer to women who seek protection for themselves and their children in time of war as part of the right to family unification Moreover, regulations targeting labour immigration seem to have a gender bias as their implementation is based on a sexual division of labour, creating an insecure and precarious semi-legal labour force in the care sector for mainly female or feminized workers on one hand, and aiming to attract a highly qualified – male and masculinized – labour force on the other. There is a need for more knowledge about women’s reasons for fleeing, especially how much it was related to gender-based prosecution, such as gender based violence Given the fact that immigration is connected to issues of national security and economic power we want to reflect if there is any chance to create gender equality in this policy field.
The work of the “immigration network on gender equality in practice” will examine how laws, directives and regulations pertaining to migration, immigration, and integration are implemented in different countries of the global North. Can we detect a gender bias in implementation, which amplifies – or minimizes – the unequal gender landscape and structure of migration movements? Which actors (on the local, regional, national and EU level) are involved in implementing immigration policies, how do they frame the issues and how do they construct gender (in)equality by “doing immigration policies”? The network aims at a comparison of selected policies in the larger field of immigration policies and across selected countries in order to better understand opportunities and pitfalls of immigration policies.
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Co-convenors: Samantha Ashenden, Johanna Kantola
Imagining equality: Intimate citizenship in the twenty-first century
Recent changes to the legal frameworks that structure intimate and family life within many states provide for a double movement: on one hand the liberalisation of conceptions of marriage and civil partnership sponsor new forms of intimate citizenship, on the other hand as these new forms of relationship are developed and inhabited new forms of inequality are being disclosed. So, for example, in the UK recognition of same-sex and unmarried parents within the HFEA 2008 liberalised notions of family life, but this Act continues to hold to the idea that a child can have a maximum of two parents. Provisions surrounding surrogacy mean that those who would otherwise remain childless may be able to produce children, but unless at least one (male) party has a genetic connection with the child so produced acquiring parental responsibility can be difficult, and access to parental leave for such parents remains contested.
The work of this international network will be to examine ‘gender equality in practice’ in relation to the transformation of intimate life in different Western countries. How is law and policy implemented in relation to intimate citizenship and with what consequences for people’s lived experiences and for constructions of ‘gender equality’? Here we explore the paradoxes and contradictions that relate to the issues of intimate citizenship in policy implementation broadly understood. We will explore in depth different national contexts, examining policy implementation to flesh out our understanding of the connections between intimate life and equal citizenship.
Co-convenors: Rosie Campbell, Petra Meier
Understanding political representation: a public policy perspective
Feminist research in the area of political representation is both theoretically sophisticated (Phillips, 1995, Dovi, 2007, Celis and Childs, 2014, Lovenduski, 2005, Sapiro, 1981, Mansbridge, 1999) and empirically strong (Ashe and Stewart, 2012, Childs, 2008, Erzeel, 2012, Franceschet and Piscopo, 2008, Wängnerud, 2000, Norris and Lovenduski, 1995). Arguments for women’s presence are increasingly nuanced and supported by ever more innovative comparative studies of how, for example, gender quotas improve the representation of women (Bacchi, 2006, Dahlerup, 2006a, Dahlerup, 2006b, Krook, 2009, Murray, 2010). However, the internal politics of how policies designed to improve the representation of women are implemented has not been an area for systematic international comparative research. The extant research demonstrates that candidate selection policies designed to improve the representation of women can and do work; in this research we investigate the ‘how’ of these recruitment and selection politics. Undertaking rich descriptive work we rake over the finer details of the secret garden of politics to really understand the way that political actors and institutions generate policy success or failure in the area of women’s representation.
The work of this international network will be to examine ‘gender equality in practice’ in relation to the recruitment of political candidates in different Western countries. How is party recruitment policy implemented and how are legal requirements and frameworks negotiated and responded to? We investigate who is active in the policy implementation process and measure outcomes in terms of who is represented adopting an intersectional approach. We assess the extent to which party family, women’s organisation within and outside the parties and the electoral context influence the implementation of gendered political recruitment policies.
Ashe, J. and Stewart, K. (2012) ‘Legislative recruitment: Using diagnostic testing to explain underrepresentation’, Party Politics, 18(5), 687-707.
Bacchi, C. (2006) Arguing for and against quotas: theoretical issues. . in D. Dahlerup (ed) Women, Quotas and Politics. London: Routledge, pp. 32-52.
Celis, K. and Childs, S. (eds) (2014) Gender, Conservatism and Political Representation, Colchester, ECPR press.
Childs, S. (2008) Women and British Party Politics: Descriptive, Substantive and Symbolic Representation, London, Routledge.
Dahlerup, D. (2006a) What are the effects of electoral gender quotas? . International Political Science Association. Fukuoka, Japan.
Dahlerup, D. (2006b) Women, Quotas and Politics, New York, Routledge.
Dovi, S. (2007) ‘Theorizing Women’s Representation in the United States’, Politics and Gender, 3(3), 297-319.
Erzeel, S. (2012) ‘Women’s Substantive Representation in the Belgian Chamber of Representatives: Testing the Added Value of a ‘Claims-making’ Approach’, World Political Science Review, 8(1), 28-47.
Franceschet, S. and Piscopo, J. (2008) ‘Gender quotas and women’s substantive representation: lessons from Argentine’, Politics and Gender, 4(3), 393-425.
Krook, M. (2009) Quotas for Women in Politics, New York, Oxford University Press.
Lovenduski, J. (2005) Feminizing Politics, Cambridge, Polity Press.
Mansbridge, J. (1999) ‘Should Blacks Represent Blacks and Women Represent Women: A Contingent ‘Yes’.’, Journal of Politics, 61(3), 628-57.
Murray, R. (2010) Parties, Gender Quotas and Candidate Selection in France, Basingstoke, Palgrave.
Norris, P. and Lovenduski, J. (1995) Political Recruitment, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.
Phillips, A. (1995) The Politics of Presence, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
Sapiro, V. (1981) ‘Research frontier essay: When are interests interesting? The problem of political representation of women’, The American Political Science Review, 75(3), 701-16.
Wängnerud, L. (2000) ‘Testing the Politics of Presence: Women’s Representation in the Swedish Riksdag’, Scandinavian Political Studies, 23(1), 67-91.