Joyce Outshoorn (Leiden University) and Johanna Kantola (University of Helsinki) have assembled a group of researchers, including many from RNGS, to report on changes in women’s policy machinery in Europe, North America, and Australia a decade after the publication of the initial study, Comparative State Feminism (Sage: 1995). The starting point is the dramatic restructuring of the political context, where state feminism is situated, in the 2000s. There have been major developments, such as globalization, regionalization, welfare state restructuring, privatization, the rise of multilevel governance and international terrorism. The book analyses the effects of these state reforms on the institutionalisation of women’s public policy in twelve Western democracies since the mid-1990s. Key questions include: Have the women’s policy agencies – state institutions charged with developing and implementing women’s public policy – been able to develop, maintain or enhance their roles in transformed political contexts? Have state feminists made use of possible new opportunities arising from the changes? Have they kept women’s issues on the transformed political agenda and preserved their alliances with women’s movement groups? Have women’s movements themselves changed in ways that make them less or more effective as a political base for policy change?
Johanna and Joyce worked with contributors to complete the book following a highly successful conference at the University of Washington in the end of April 2006. The conference was attended by almost all of the book contributors, gender scholars from the UW, Sweden, California, and Washington State and graduate and undergraduate students from the UW. Changing State Feminism: Women’s Policy Agencies Confront Shifting Institutional Terrain is now available from Palgrave Macmillan.