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Session Overview
RN14_01b_P: Gender and the State
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Margaret Page, university of the west of england
Location: PB.2.44
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: B, Level: 2.

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Public procurement as a form of responsive or reflexive regulation to advance gender equality

Tessa Wright

Queen Mary University of London, United Kingdom

In the context of a shrinking public sector, and reduced regulatory and enforcement powers of states in many European countries, the use of public procurement policy may be a means for local and national states to extend their influence to the private sector in order to address social objectives, such as employment inequality. Social procurement – or ‘buying social justice’ (MCrudden, 2007) – has been subject to political and legal advances and setbacks, including questions over its permissibility under EU legislation, although the 2014 EU Procurement Directive allows public authorities to promote social, economic and environmental development, and good quality employment and services through public spending. This paper seeks to situate social procurement within a conceptual framework of new forms of regulation that move beyond traditional forms of ‘hard’ legislation and instead seek to engage wider groups of stakeholders in the implementation of regulatory standards. The paper will consider the extent to which public procurement policy can be considered as a form of regulatory new governance (RNG), responsive or reflexive regulation, drawing on concepts developed by Ayres and Braithwaite (1992) and Nonet and Selznick (1978, 2001). While offering primarily a conceptual discussion, the paper will examine the application of public procurement policy and contract compliance in the context of advancing gender equality in employment in the construction sectors, drawing on evidence from the UK – the procurement strategy adopted during the construction of the London 2012 Olympic Park – and the US – affirmative action measures in federal contracting to increase women’s participation in the construction trades.

Local Councils’ Strategies for the Implementation of Gender Equality Sensitive Public Procurement: A comparative Perspective.

E. Katharina Sarter

Glasgow Caledonian University, United Kingdom, University of South Wales

With roughly one third of general government expenses and about 13% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) spent for the purchase of goods and services by public sector bodies (OECD, 2015), public procurement is an important market. It has been highlighted as “one of state and local governments' most important jobs” (Potoski, 2008: S58) and credited “a great potential to promote gender equality” (European Institute for Gender Equality, 2017).

The proposed presentation examines strategies to implement gender equality sensitive public procurement at local level. Focusing on local strategies to implement legal requirements to have due regard to equality in public procurement, it examines how local councils in two countries, Wales and Scotland, seek to implement (gender) equality sensitive public procurement.

It, first, presents a brief conceptual outline of how public procurement can be used as a lever to promote gender equality as well in the workforce as in a wider societal contest. Based thereon, the presentation critically examines local councils’ strategies of implementing equality sensitive public procurement in Scotland and Wales.


European Institute for Gender Equality (2017): Gender Procurement. Available online: (30.1.2017)

OECD (2015): Government at a Glance. General government procurement as percentage of GDP and as share of total government expenditures, 2013. DOI: 10.1787/gov_glance-2015-graph88-en.

Potoski, M. (2008): State and Local Government Procurement and the Winter Commission. In: Public Administration Review (68), S58–S69.


Altın Aslı Şimşek Öner

Atılım University, Turkey

Today the prevention of violence against women has an essential role in providing women’s participation in socio-economic life by promoting women’s rights. Elimination of violence against women has been a public policy since 2006 in Turkey. There are 137 women’s shelters run both by public bodies and local authorities according to 2016 data. Nevertheless, women have difficulties in accessing to these shelters, and benefiting from socio-economic opportunities while staying there.

The aim of this study is to analyse the legislature and social policy about the women’s access to shelters and participation in labour market after leaving the shelters. I am going to make this analysis thorough examining the relationship between Turkish welfare state model and women’s rights. While examing this relationship, i am going to use a social rights-based approach. According to this approach, poverty and social exclusion of women cannot be solved without providing or protecting socio-economic rights.

I am going to describe women’s access to the shelters and socio-economic rigths from the perspective of socio-legal studies including feminist legal theory. The difference between the equality principle in text-based legislature and problems about gender equality in real life is going to be understood by using socio-legal methodology. The scope of this study is the relationship between the legal status of the shelters and social law in Turkey, because of the difficulties in explaining all kinds and dimensions of the prevention of violence against women. The focus is on strengthening the socio-economic rights of women who are exposed to violence.

The State as the Provider and Financer of Childcare: Perceptions of the Public

Özgün Ünver1,2, Tuba Bircan1,2, Ides Nicaise1,2

1KU Leuven - University of Leuven, Belgium; 2HIVA - Research Institute for Work and Society

Research suggest that when people are asked to describe an ideal situation, the ideals they express are based on the current situation they live in and the options that are currently available to them. This study contributes to the existing perception research from the aspect of a crucial social policy area: childcare. Besides having a key role in regulating childcare provision and financing, the welfare state provides (i.e. public or publicly subsidised facilities) and finances (via public expenditure schemes) childcare to varying degrees. Although the need (or lack thereof) for public facilities and resources for childcare have been discussed for several decades at the policy-level, we still do not know much about the perspective of users of these services regarding the role of the government as the primary provider or financer.

To address this gap in the literature, we conduct multilevel analysis on the relationship between current policies and the attitudes of public toward public provision and financing of childcare across 40 counties around the globe. At the respondent-level, we control for various demographic and socio-economic variables that have an impact on the perception of people. At the country-level, we test the effect of several welfare characteristics of the country with regard to the financing of childcare, use of childcare, general wealth, economic and intercultural inequalities, as well as gender and family policies. We use the fourth round of ISSP data on Family and Changing Gender Roles from 2012 at the individual-level and retrieve country-level variables from the OECD Family Database.

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