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Multiple Inequalities, Intersectionality and Gender Mainstreaming

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Presentation on theme: "Multiple Inequalities, Intersectionality and Gender Mainstreaming"— Presentation transcript:

1 Multiple Inequalities, Intersectionality and Gender Mainstreaming
Judith Squires Berlin, 1st Feb 2010

2 Key Questions Gender mainstreaming in the time of intersectionality
What is gender mainstreaming? Why has it emerged as a central gender equality strategy and what are its strengths/weaknesses? What is intersectionality? Why has it emerged as a central concern in relation to the multiple inequalities agenda? Does the emergence of ‘intersectionality’ as a privileged policy discourse threaten the gains/potential of gender mainstreaming practices?

3 Gender Mainstreaming UN defines GM as the promotion of a ‘strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes in all political, economic and societal spheres so that women and men benefit equally and inequality is not perpetuated. The ultimate goal is to achieve gender equality. (UN 2002, 2)

4 Gender Equality Three phases of gender equality policies:
Equal treatment 1970s: anti-discrimination laws, with male comparator Positive action 1980s: special measures, recognition of specificity Gender mainstreaming 1990s: counteract gender bias in institutional practices

5 Gender Equality Policies
Inclusion Reversal Displacement Sameness Difference New norm Equal treatment Positive action Gender mainstreaming

6 Gender Equality Regime
Global gender equality regime ‘a story of debate, contestation and dissent in norm development.’ (Kardam 2004, 91) Beijing Platform for Action 1995 calls for use of positive action in candidate selection to achieve 30% target (para 88) Beijing Platform for Action 1995 also calls for a gender perspective to be applied in all policies and programmes (para 189)

7 Gender Equality Cumulative and complementary?
Three-legged stool: interconnectedness (Booth and Bennett 2002) Or contested and competing? GM used as an alternative to previous positive action policies (Eveline and Bacchi 2005, Stratigaki 2005)

8 Quotas/Mainstreaming
Gained prominence in the late 1990s Framed as a question of justice and democracy Actors: women’s lobby groups, members of political parties and legislators Gained prominence in the late 1990s Framed as a question of modernization and efficiency Actors: civil servants, government ministers, civil society actors

9 Quotas/Mainstreaming
Politics: narrow focus on formal institutions of political representation Representation: focus on descriptive Gender: focus on sex as subject of policy Politics: wide focus including bureaucracy and civil society Representation: focus on substantive Gender: focus on gender as object of policy

10 Competing or complementary?
So, has the emergence of gender mainstreaming complemented positive action policies, or undermined them? No single answer because mainstreaming itself a contested norm and variable practice

11 Norm Diffusion/Adoption
Norm diffusion: norms are promoted transnationally by advocacy networks (Keck and Sikkink 1998, True and Mintrom 2001) Norm adoption: norms are vague, contested and dynamic (Lombardo, Meier and Verloo 2008) Result: rapid norm diffusion, rarely achieving their intended aims (Krook and True 2009)

12 Gender Mainstreaming: contested norm
Strategy Inclusion Reversal Displacement Model Integrationist Agenda-setting Transformative Actors Experts Women’s groups Policy networks Process Bureaucratic Consultative Deliberative Weakness Rhetorical Entrapment Reification Complexity

13 Gender Mainstreaming Ratified by all UN member states 1995
Adopted by UN, OECD, World Bank, who supported developing governments’ implementation of GM Endorsed by Treaty of Amsterdam 1997 By 2001, all EU member states had mechanisms for GM Is mainstreaming transformative? (Squires 2005)

14 Gender Mainstreaming: Uncertain practice
Not just failing to be transformative, but damaging for women (Yuval Davis 2005) Gender entrepreneurs within the institutions of global governance as key facilitators of mainstreaming (Kardam 2000) ‘dominant forms of mainstreaming are clearly congruent with this self-managed model of governance’ (Bacchi and Eveline 2004, 103-4) Conflict between feminist goal of gender equality and context of neo-liberal goal of efficiency (True 2003, Teghtsoonian 2004)

15 Mainstreaming Concerns
Rhetorical entrapment (Verloo 2001, 9) GM frames gender equality as a derived objective of economic growth rather than a question of social justice (Mosesdottir and Erlingsdottir 2005, 528) Uses analytic tools (statistics, impact assessments) rather than political ones Relies on gender experts and professionalised NGOs rather than social movement actors

16 In the time of intersectionality
So when we turn to consider whether/how the emergence of ‘intersectionality’ impacts on the practice of gender mainstreaming, we must recognise that mainstreaming is a contested norm, embracing a wide range of varied practices, many of them subject to feminist critique.

17 Four phases of gender equality policies
Equal treatment 1970s: anti-discrimination laws, male comparator Positive action 1980s: special measures, recognition of women’s specificity Gender mainstreaming 1990s: counteract gender bias in institutional practices Multiple inequalities 2000s: acknowledgement of multiple inequality strands and of cumulative discrimination

18 Multiple Inequalities
Article 13 EC: ‘Without prejudice to other provisions of this Treaty and within the limits of the powers conferred by it upon the Community, the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, may take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation.’ Growing pressures on EU member states to address multiple inequalities. Institutional and legal reforms underway across Europe

19 The emergence of multiple inequalities
Exogenous pressures in the form of EU Directives Article 13 in 1999, Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations of 2003 and the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations of 2003. Mobilisation from equality movements eg. UK Disability Discrimination Act in 1995 and the establishment of the Disability Rights Commission in 2000. Diversity Management eg. ‘The business case for diversity is becoming harder to resist as a diverse workforce gives employers a competitive edge.’ Britain’s Deputy Minister for Women 2002

20 Multiple Inequalities and Anti-discrimination law
Vertical approach: substantive differences exist between different grounds Separate legislative instruments needed for individual grounds to ensure effective protection (eg. Article 141, positive action re sex discrimination, or Article 29 combating racism): effective protection. Eg. UK Discrimination law offers different levels of protection to different groups. Single Equality Bill (announced 2008), to replace nine pieces of legislation (including SDA 1975, RRA 1976 and DDA 1995) and c.100 statutory instruments with a single Act. Horizontal approach: common provisions reduce disparities: equal protection and efficiency gains. Competing inequalities: the horizontal approach may extend the scope for conflict between inequality strands by increasing the number grounds

21 Multiple Inequalities and Anti-discrimination law
eg. Ladele v London Borough of Islington: registrar unable to reconcile her Christian faith with conducting a civil partnership. Tribunal found the Council to have ‘placed a greater value on the rights of the lesbian, gay and bisexual and transsexual community than it placed on the rights of Ms Ladele.’ No legal/ethical framework for ranking of relative importance of claims: religious freedom – ‘the right to theologically based discrimination’ (Skjeie 2007:474)

22 Limitations with Horizontal Approach
Comparator problem: The need to name discrete grounds of discrimination and to identify comparator is problematic. Higher threshold of establishing two separate claims makes it difficult to establish cumulative discrimination Judicial problem: Limitations to using the law to promote equality, judicial mechanisms limited to an individualised model of equality Parity problem: Not clear that all equality strands are of the same order

23 Multiple Inequalities and Gender Mainstreaming
Women’s Unit (WU) created in 1997: a cross-cutting unit within Whitehall, created to ensure a coordinated approach to gender equality across government departments (Squires and Wickham-Jones 2002). Agenda-setting mainstreaming. The WU re-launched as the Women and Equality Unit (WEU) in 2001, became sponsor for the EOC and the WNC and took responsibility for policy on gender equality issues. Integrationist mainstreaming WEU replaced by The Government Equalities Office (GEO). GEO is a self-standing Department, ‘whose mission is to put equality at the heart of Government’. It is responsible for the Government’s overall strategy on equality, (including a new Equality Bill) and sponsors the EHRC, opened on 1 October 2007

24 Multiple Inequalities and Gender Equality Strategies
Renewed focus on anti-discrimination eg. new Equality Bill, embracing horizontal approach Loss of women’s policy agencies eg. EOC and WEU replaced by Equality and Human Rights Commission(Squires 2007) Loss of commitment to mainstreaming eg. Both the agenda-setting and the integrationist forms of GM (Squires and Wickham-Jones 2005) eclipsed by EHRC

25 Intersectionality Feminist support for multiple inequalities agenda generally framed by a commitment to intersectionality UK EOC supported the creation of a single equality body: it will “have the best change of delivering effective work across all areas of equality on all the necessary levels i.e. single-strand issues, general equality issues and inter-sectional or multiple discrimination issues.” (EOC 2003, 1). But multiple inequalities agenda is NOT synonymous with intersectionality

26 Intersectionality Intersectionality: response to the inability of singular analyses of inequality to recognise the complex inter-relation between forms of oppression (Crenshaw 1991, Marx Ferree 2008, Prins 2006 Intersectional discrimination exists ‘where the discrimination is the combined rather than cumulative product of two or more discriminatory grounds, yielding an experience which is qualitatively distinct from the sum of its discriminatory parts,’ (Conaghen et al 2007).

27 Diversity Mainstreaming
Does mainstreaming allow for recognition of combined inequalities more readily than anti-discrimination and positive action approaches? (Rees 2002) Growing use of mainstreaming discourse by other equality strands (eg. disability mainstreaming) but little institutional focus on diversity mainstreaming to date Whether and how it recognises intersectionality will depend on whether mainstreaming takes an integrationist, agenda-setting or transformative form (Squires 2005)

28 Diversity Mainstreaming
Possible responses to the challenge of multiple inequalities agenda: use integrationist mainstreaming to conduct impact assessments on six strands, plus intersections use agenda-setting mainstreaming to bring the voices of groups experiencing combined inequalities in particular into the policy process Devise a transformative mainstreaming based on deliberative participation and intersectional narratives

29 Conclusion The emergence of multiple inequalities agenda does challenge mainstreaming. It does so in three key ways: by focusing attention on anti-discrimination laws by dismantling the women’s policy agencies that took responsibility for GM by further complicating the already complicated process of mainstreaming equality considerations into all policy areas

30 Challenges To rethink gender equality strategies in the context of the multiple equalities agenda, focusing on: the parity, judicial and comparator problems in the emerging horizontal anti-discrimination approach the shift away from dedicated women’s policy agencies in the multiple inequalities framework the framing of mainstreaming in terms of neo-liberal norms of efficiency and economic productivity

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