Global Resources

Gender, Politics and the State

Author: V. Randall (ed), G. Waylen (ed)
Publisher: Routledge
Publication Date: Jan 1998
Over the last two decades our understanding of the relationship between gender, politics and the state has been transformed - this volume provides an overview of this dynamic and growing field. We need to broaden the field of politics to include activities often undertaken by women which fall outside the boundaries of conventional politics and, therefore, not usually considered 'political'. This allows an examination of the way in which political activities and processes have shaped and constrained gender relations, identities and women's activities - including the influence of the state on the construction of the divide between the 'private' and 'public' domains. This book explores some central contemporary themes, including: the difficulties with identifying and organising politically around gender differences and interests; having to engage with the state whilst simultaneously recognising both its complexity and variation; and the need for a more inclusive conception of politics which does justice to women's political needs.

The first three essays focus primarily on conceptual and theoretical issues: the meaning of 'gender'; the state's role in the construction of gender within the public and private spheres; and the political representation of gender differences within liberal democracy. The remaining six provide analyses of more concrete issues of state policy and participation in differing national political contexts: abortion politics in Ireland; the local politics of sex work in Britain; the impact on women's political participation of economic change in China and Latin America and political change in Russia; and the gender impact of state programmes of land reform.