What is feminist policy? Why is it so important for our contemporary democratic systems to adopt and actually implement policies that formally promote women’s rights and status, however those rights and status are defined in a specific national context, and to strike down gender hierarchies? How do students of democratic performance actually assess feminist policy success as it is placed on government agendas and pursued in specific policies across a wide range of sectors of government action? Who are the major actors that push for feminist policy?
These are especially crucial questions given how on one hand women’s movements, representing a broad range of voices and taking a multitude of forms, have been demanding governments to take action since the mid-1960s and on the other hand, governments have often responded to these demands through quite symbolic reforms- policy outputs without any real results. Thus, the puzzle we seek to examine in this workshop is how, to what degree and why does feminist policy matter in western post industrial democracies and do they make our stable and consolidated democracies more democratic.
On the first day, the highly active and successful field of study that focuses on these questions, Feminist Comparative Policy, will be first covered. Next, students will be exposed to the thorny problems of how to define and measure feminist government action and determine what constitutes a feminist policy success. The workshop will take a close look at the approach, framework and research methodology of the current 100 member research group the Gender Equality Policy in Practice Network (http://www.csbppl.com/gepp/). On the second day, the tools of the Comparative Feminist Policy Approach will be applied to examining the on-going process of if, how and why the “me too” movement has been transposed into government policy responses, with opportunities for participants in the seminar to get some hands on experience in conducting policy research. As such, this seminar, provides detailed insight into and tools for studying how well our contemporary democracies function in the 21st century.