Gendering Policy Through Expertise: A Mixed-Methods Analysis of Gender Expert Policy Success
Hoard, Season Ashley
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During the past two decades several organizations at the During the past two decades several organizations at the transnational, national, and local levels, have committed to promoting women's rights and gender equality through various strategies, such as gender mainstreaming. Despite an increase in the prevalence of gender experts in the policy process, the impact of gender expertise on public policy is not fully understood. Feminist research has found that gender experts can be important to feminist policy success; however, we have little knowledge regarding how gender expertise is important and the factors which lead to successful adoption of gender expertise in public policy. Feminist and non-feminist research posits several factors that could potentially impact gender expert policy success. However, what constitutes gender expertise in public policy remains largely unclear. In this dissertation I examine the factors that lead to gender expert recommendations being incorporated into formally adopted policy through a sequential mixed-methods design utilizing interviews, survey analysis, and Crisp-set Qualitative Comparative Analysis to sort through these factors and identify whether any factors are necessary or sufficient to policy success. I develop a conceptualization of gender expertise and operationalize the concept by looking at individual credentials, training, or prior experience. I heed the call for greater comparison in gender research by utilizing gender experts across the globe to develop insights into the shared factors that bolster gender expert success in public policy; these factors are further tested with Qualitative Comparative Analysis of policy debates in Western postindustrial democracies. I find that high-level political support is a sufficient condition for gender expert policy success; however, it is also evident that it is not the only path to success for gender experts. In the absence of high-level political support gender experts can still achieve policy success if a women's policy agency advocates their recommendations and the issue is high on the women's movement agenda. I argue that future research examining gender expertise needs to be more broadly comparative and examine whether and how the relative importance of these factors change depending on the countries, policy sectors, or regions being examined.