Conference Agenda

Overview and details of the sessions of this conference. Please select a date or location to show only sessions at that day or location. Please select a single session for detailed view (with abstracts and downloads if available).

Session Overview
RN14_04: Public Services and Gender Equality
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Orly Benjamin, Bar Ilan University
Location: UP.4.211
University of Manchester Building: University Place, Fourth Floor Oxford Road

Session Abstract

Public sector developments enhancing visible employment while changing work conditions.

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‘Participation, Influence and Voice’ – Exploring Public Participation as ‘Transformative’ in the Context of the Public Sector Equality Duty

Kate Julie Clayton-Hathway

Oxford Brookes University, United Kingdom

In accordance with the Public Sector Equality Duty, public authorities must “… encourage persons who share a relevant protected characteristic to participate in public life or in any other activity in which participation by such persons is disproportionately low…”. Descriptions of the Duty as ‘transformative’ equality position it as moving beyond previous conceptions of equality to encompass rights of participation. Such participation may include contributing to local authority and community decision-making, engaging with others in a range of social and civic settings and generally taking part in productive activities. Institutions covered by the Duty have a positive role to remove barriers, so those who need resources to achieve this can access them.

This paper explores the role ‘participation’ might play in increasing equality through the context of the Duty. It uses an empirical, socio-legal study based on policy and decision-making processes within a local authority, and a group of women service-users and local actors working in/with service provision. It considers participation from a range of perspectives, as supported by the Duty’s mechanisms. Findings from the study show that, though these mechanisms clearly facilitated a range of participative activities they also created barriers, particularly when impacted by austerity measures.

This discussion aims to further develop understanding of the context in which participation activities, as required by the Duty, might be better developed to foster transformative equality. By increasing knowledge of the mechanisms’ strengths and weaknesses in this way, we can aim to deliver better, more ‘transformative’ equality outcomes.

The Crisis in Care – Caring Against Crises: Professional Responses to Austerity Politics in Female Dominated Welfare Professions.

Rebecca Elizabeth Selberg1, Paula Mulinari2, Magnus Sandberg1

1Lund University, Sweden; 2Malmö University, Sweden

Capitalist crises, such as the current financial crisis, are also crises in the sphere of social reproduction, according to Fraser (2014). In the current phase of financialized capitalism, social reproduction is increasingly treated as a commodity. As many feminist- and gender scholars have showed, this has resulted in increased pressures on women’s labour. During the last ten years, the Nordic countries and Sweden in particular have witnessed increasing levels of individual as well as collective forms of resistance challenging such processes of work intensification Sociologist Göran Therborn identifies the public sector professions as one of three central actors that can pose a serious threat to the current economic and political tendencies propelling what Fraser calls the crisis of care.

This paper has two aims. The first aim is to contribute to a feminist analysis of how the current phase of financialised capitalism shapes the sphere of care work in a Nordic context. The second aim is to analyse the potential of public sector care workers to mobilize against marketization, in a Polanyian sense. Through an analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data, the article explores worker agency in the framework of exit, voice and loyalty (Hirschman 1990), and illustrates some of the ways in which public sector employees draw on notions of equality and responsibility to patients and clients to resist the austerity regime.

Gender budgeting in the Labor Market and in the Family - the case of Poland

Justyna Tomczyk

Pedagogical University of Cracow, Poland

My paper deals with the importance and role of gender budgeting (GB) in household, labor market and polish family life. The main thesis of the text speaks of the necessity to implement the GB assumptions for creating a household budget and the subsequent spending of budgetary funds. First and foremost, the point is that the economic function - related to spending, securing the material and living conditions and meeting the needs of the lower and higher order - is gender-related, sexually conditioned. The implementation of GB at the microstructural level seems indispensable in the process of family democratisation and equality of all its members because GB assumes a balanced distribution of financial and non-financial resources. It is a kind of subpolicy that applies to money (or their equivalent) and the way they are divided - so it covers the key issues that determine the condition and functioning of the family. The distribution of funds reflects the arrangements, hierarchies and relations between individual family members, and consequently establishes their positions, statuses, related roles and types of social relations. Thus, the family budget is not only an intra-family, personal and intimate affair, but also a matter of broad socio-political importance.

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