Gender analysis and community participation: The role of women’s policy units

Katy Osborne, Carol Bacchi, Catherine Mackenzie

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


In Chapter 5 we identify the ‘project trap’ – subservience to wider policy objectives – as a major constraint on potentially transformative gender analysis processes. There we show, for example, how privatisation of health care (Armstrong 2002) increases the caring work that those marked as ‘women’ will have to do, reinforcing the conventional domestic division of labour. It follows that, in order to be transformative, a gender analysis must be able to scrutinise underlying premises in policy proposals, showing how they can be gendering practices that produce gendered beings and gendered relationships.A major factor deterring critical analysis of this type is the insider status of those performing gender analysis, since policy workers are obliged to an extent to perform assessment tasks as laid out by the government holding office (Chapter 11). To loosen the ties of this limiting ‘insider’ status and hence to enable policy workers to become more critical of government policies, some theorists emphasise the importance of forms of community involvement as a policy practice (see Chapter 1, p.30). The argument here is that members of the lay public may provide contesting views to perspectives shaped largely by business interests and senior management. As mentioned elsewhere (Chapter 3), one of the chief purposes of Linkage Grant projects is theory testing. Hence, the project organisers in South Australia constructed a qualitative research exercise to consider the extent to which community consultation might encourage the development of more transformative gender analysis processes

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMainstreaming Politics
Subtitle of host publicationGendering Practices and Feminist Theory
EditorsCarol Bacchi, Joan Eveline
PublisherUniversity of Adelaide Press
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780980672381
ISBN (Print)9780980672398
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010
Externally publishedYes


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