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Stephanie Paterson, PhD

Professor, Political Science

Stephanie Paterson, PhD

I received my PhD in Public Policy at the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University, where I specialized in Canadian public policy. My work centres on the effects produced when states take up and deploy feminist knowledge and expertise, which has led to substantive expertise in feminist and critical policy studies; feminist governance, state feminism, and gender mainstreaming; and the politics of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood. I am currently engaged in three research projects, two of which are SSHRC-funded. The first SSHRC-funded project concerns the various ways in which gender-based analysis plus (GBA plus) is constituted and applied in federal and provincial governments, with particular attention to the degree to which GBA plus disrupts technocratic discourse and practice. The second SSHRC-funded project is a transdisciplinary investigation of the transition to motherhood, with emphasis on the lived effects of policy interventions aimed at first-time birth parents. I am also working on a project that explores the potential of emotions, care, and empathy to transform how we analyze, design and implement public policy. I teach in the areas of policy theory, feminist policy studies, and Canadian public policy. I am also on the Editorial Advisory Boards of Policy & Politics and Critical Policy Studies.

Research interests

Feminist and Critical Policy Studies; Feminist Governance, State Feminism, and Gender Mainstreaming; Politics of Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood.

Teaching activities

POLI 353             Principles of Public Policy
POLI 411             Gender and Public Policy
POLI 636/805      Theories of Public Policy and Public Administration
POLI 648             Feminist Critiques of Public Policy
POLI 683S           Politics of Reproduction
POLI 600             Public Policy and the Governmental Process in Canada

Selected Recent Publications

Paterson, S. and F. Scala. Forthcoming. “Understanding Gender Expertise in the Post-Truth Era: Media Representations of Gender-Based Analysis Plus in Canada.” International Review of Public Policy.

Larios, L. and S. Paterson. 2021. “Fear of the Other: Vulnerabilization, Social Empathy, and the COVID-19 Pandemic in Canada.” Critical Policy Studies, 15(2): 137-145. 

Levasseur, K., S. Paterson, and L. Turnbull (eds.). 2020. Mothering and Welfare: Depriving, Surviving, Thriving. Toronto: Demeter Press.

Paterson, S. and F. Scala. 2020. “Feminist Government or Government Feminism? Exploring Feminist Policy Analysis in the Trudeau Era.” In Turbulent Times, Transformational Possibilities? Gender and Politics Today and Tomorrow, A. Dobrowolsky and F. MacDonald (eds.). University of Toronto Press.

Paterson, S. and L. Larios. 2020. “Emotional States: Transnational Motherhood, Policymaking and the Politics of Empathy in Canada.” Critical Policy Studies

Paterson, S. 2019. “Emotional Labour: Exploring Emotional Policy Discourses of Pregnancy and Childbirth in Ontario, Canada.” Public Policy and Administration.


Scala, F., S. Paterson, and L. Richard-Nobert. 2019. “The Gender Logic and Gender Effects of Policy Instruments: Implementing Eldercare Policy in Canada.” Policy and Society.

Paterson, S., S. Hebblethwaite, D. Trussell, M. Evans, and T. Xing. 2019. “I’m More than a Mom: Stories of Parental Leave During the Transition to Motherhood in Canada.” Social Policy and Administration, 53: 401–415.

Levasseur, K., S. Paterson, and N. Arieom. 2018. “Conditional and Unconditional Cash Transfers: Implications for Gender.” Basic Income Studies, 13(1).

Scala, S. and S. Paterson. 2018. “Making Sense of Gender Mainstreaming inCanada: Policy Work and the Construction of Gender-Based Analysis as Governing Discourse.” Politics & Gender 14:2, 208-234. 

Smith, L. and S. Paterson. 2018. “Guiding Girls: Navigating Neo-Liberal Subjectivity and Government Educational Resources for Young Women.” Girlhood Studies, 11:2, 13-29. 

Scala, F. and S. Paterson. 2017. “Bureaucratic Role Perceptions and Gender Policy Work in Canada.” Gender, Work and Organization 24:6, 579-593.

Trussell, D., S. Paterson, S. Hebblethwaite, T.Xing, and M.Evans. 2017. “Negotiating the Complexities and Risks of an Interdisciplinary Research Team.” International Journal of Qualitative Methods 16: 1-10. Available online at:

Scala, F. and S.Paterson. 2017. “Gendering Public Policy or Rationalizing Gender? Strategic Interventions and GBA Practice in Canada.” Canadian Journal of Political Science 50(2): 427-442.

Paterson, S. and F. Scala. 2017. “Gender Mainstreaming and the Discursive Politics of Public Service Values.” Administrative Theory & Praxis, 39(1): 1-18.

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