THE WOMEN'S POLICY ACTION TANK
WOMEN AND MEN EXPERIENCE THE IMPACTS OF POLICY IN DIVERGENT WAYS. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF THIS FACT IS EVIDENT IN SPECIFIC POLICY AREAS SUCH AS CHILDCARE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE. THE VAST MAJORITY OF POLICIES, HOWEVER, PURPORT TO BE GENDER-NEUTRAL. THERE IS GROWING CONCERN THAT THIS APPROACH DRASTICALLY FAILS WOMEN, CONTRIBUTING TO A FEMINISATION OF POVERTY, NEGATIVE HEALTH AND SAFETY CONSEQUENCES AND AN ACCRUAL OF DISADVANTAGE ACROSS THE LIFESPAN.
In 2015 Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand (GSANZ), in collaboration with Dr Gemma Carey, Dr Lara Corr and the Australian National University Gender Institute, coordinated the inaugural and highly successful Power to Persuade: Gender Forum to explore these concerns. The Forum analysed the gender values and norms underpinning a range of policies and facilitated deeper cognisance of the reasons for, and effects of, strategic inclusion or calculated exclusion of gender considerations in policy discourse and implementation. Emerging from this event was a vision to establish a network of advocates to apply a gender lens to policy formation and evaluation and to utilise the expertise of the network to influence policy debate, development and implementation.
The Women’s Policy Action Tank (the Action Tank) will represent a new entity capable of realising this vision. It will operate under the umbrella of the Power to Persuade and be coordinated by the Women’s Research, Advocacy and Policy Unit at GSANZ.
The objectives of the Action Tank include:
- To facilitate a coordinated effort in Australia to apply a gender lens to policy formulation and policy effectiveness
- To highlight areas in which women are disadvantaged by policy – in economic, social and health and wellbeing terms
- To support the development of better policy through analysis, research and application of specialist expertise
- To coordinate, encourage and support policy assessment and advocacy across a range of disciplines, not limited to those in relation to which gender issues are typically raised
- To identify areas of critical intersectionality, in which women may experience compounded disadvantage through multiple policy absences (e.g., women who are in the justice system, women who are homeless, women who are asylum seekers)
- To identify potential policy solutions to entrenched female disadvantage
- To equip policy actors with
- increased understanding of how policy impacts women and men differently
- increased access to networks with other policy actors
- increased knowledge about how policies are formulated
Putting Women at the Centre: A Policy Forum, 16 August 2016, held at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Melbourne
In association with the Power to Persuade Symposium, 15 August 2016