Gender, power relations and the use of evidence in policy – starting a new conversation


Gender, power relations and the use of evidence in policy – starting a new conversation


Australian Journal of Public Administration


Dr Gemma Carey (

Associate Professor Helen Dickinson

Professor Eva Cox


This special issue has a two-step process. Initially, only abstracts are to be submitted. The editors will then select those most relevant to the themes being explored and will work closely with authors in the development of full papers.


The last two decades have seen a slowing down of gender based policy changes and growing gender-based inequities in many OECD countries, including wages and pay disparities, media roles, promotion, political leadership, and science to name a few. Similarly, in developing countries neoliberal and ‘liberal’ forms of feminism have been promoted which have been found to extend and deepen gendered inequalities in many cases. This raises two separate questions: firstly, whether 'women's policies' as such is a durable approach to the overall aim of gender equity? and, secondly, is it time to change tactics and 'mainstream' issues by using feminist lenses to analyse and amend the wide range of policies which produce gender inequities? These challenges sit within broader concerns about the gap between research and policy, and growing awareness of the implicit and explicit power dynamics and relational practices which underpin the ‘messy’ world of policy. While concern and awareness is increasing, frameworks and ways of understanding blockages and sticking points in the policy process are scarce.


This special issue will look at the interplay between evidence, culture, and ideology in the realm of action on gender equity. We encourage authors to consider how these intersect with politics at both the level of political parties and also institutionally and culturally both within and external to government.  Contributions are welcomed from authors working in a range of sectors and policy areas; we recognise that policy ‘work’ happens in a wide array of contexts– from laws and regulations and activities within government, through to the efforts those who work in other sectors advocating, implementing or otherwise working to shape policy.


Potential issues for exploration include work practices, such as:

·       Collaboration

·       Management

·       Leadership

And policy areas, such as:

·       Disaster management

·       Defence

·       Domestic violence

·       Childcare

·       Industrial relations

·       Parental leave and flexible work arrangements as part of care redistribution


In addition to examining gender, authors are encouraged to adapt and explore how a feminist approach might enhance work in their various domains of policy work. Contributors will be supported to critically engage with feminist aims and perspectives to reimagine how their given area of policy work could be done differently. While feminist policy is not a new idea, this collection will provide a much-needed foray into the practical application of feminism across a breadth of policy work, which connects to multiple domains of policy, including social policy, public administration, regulation and evaluation.


Power to Persuade