Research that considers how institutions and processes are gendered
The Gender and Governance research program will undertake research that considers how institutions and processes are gendered. It is dedicated to the study of the institutions and processes that examine the political participation of women in Australia and the Asia Pacific region. It covers diverse areas of research with several current projects underway.
Political participation and political engagement are gendered processes. From women’s representation in parliament and political parties; to women’s participation in peace processes; and women’s participation in transitional justice, the program focuses on the conditions that promote gender equitable political representation and policy. Institutional, social, and economic barriers to women’s participation in politics continue in both developing and developed economies. Gender still determines who sits in parliament, who fights in conflict, and who decides the terms of justice.
Program Leaders: Elizabeth van Acker and Sara Davies
Dr Liz van Acker
Relationship between government, gender and couple relationships, women in parliament, electoral gender quotas, feminist values, social and industry policies
Adjunct Professor Jack Corbett
Gender and political leadership and women’s political participation
Associate Professor Sara Davies
Women’s participation in peace process, sexual and gender based violence, women’s displacement, gender and global health
Dr Huiyun Feng
Foreign policy analysis, Asia security studies and Chinese politics, female leadership
Associate Professor Susan Harris Rimmer
Feminist approach to international law & diplomacy, International Humanitarian Law, International Aid and Development. National Security
Professor Renee Jeffery
Transitional and post-conflict justice (Asia-Pacific focus), International ethics and IR theory, Women in the history of political thought
Dr Caitlin Mollica
Youth, Transitional Justice and Human Rights, Gender
Diplomacy and security, Women's leadership, Intersectionality and LGBTI representation
IS DIVERSITY DISRUPTING DIPLOMACY
Elise Stephenson recently co-authored an article with Jane Alver (lawyer, activist and gender equality advocate). Their article was published by Kings College London on the subject of Is diversity disrupting diplomacy – and are we doing enough to ensure it is? More diverse leadership is needed in international affairs.
ALL BEING EQUAL: STORIES BEYOND YES OR NO
Dr Liz van Acker contributed to Griffith Library's Lightning Talk event at the Gold Coast campus in December. Liz was a panelist at the event 'All Being Equal: Stories Beyond Yes or No' along with Benjamin Law, Erin Gough, Dr Heather Faulkner, and Dr Michael Carden. Griffith Review's Dr Ashley Hay moderated.
INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON GENDER STUDIES - VENICE
Dr Liz van Acker presented a conference paper on feminist institutionalism and women’s participation in politics at the International Conference on Gender Studies conference in Venice.
The paper examined the formal and informal rules which have influenced women’s participation in Queensland politics.
LISTENED TO BUT NOT HEARD
In October 2018, Program member Dr Caitlin Mollica and Queensland University of Technology's Dr Helen Berents gave evidence at the touring Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters inquiry into lowering the voting age. They spoke in support of the voice of youth in the democratic process.
Following their submission to the Standing Committee they contributed to Griffith University's Policy Innovation Hub, Machinery of Government blog. Read their piece ‘Listened to, but not heard’ - Lowering the Voting Age and Increasing Voter Participation below.
WOMEN IN UNITED KINGDOM POLITICS
Liz van Acker met with Professor Sarah Childs from the Department of Politics at Birbeck University in London in early November. They had interesting discussions about gender and politics. Liz attended a seminar which examined a report analysing women’s engagement with politics in Wales and their interest in running for election.
Liz also attended a book launch hosted by the Department and Professor Childs. Jacqui Smith, a former Labour politician co-edited All the Honourable Ladies: Volume 1: Profiles of Women MPs 1918 -1996 and she provided fascinating insights into the lives and achievements of women in UK politics.
A MESSAGE FOR WOMEN SEEKING A POLITICAL CAREER — QUOTAS WORK!
Much has been said this year about being a woman in politics, with little of it being positive or inspiring to those thinking about taking on this essential public service role.
Dr Liz van Acker and her Central Queensland University Australia colleague, Associate Professor Linda Colley, use Queensland as a case study to explore the issues surrounding women's representation in this piece for the Policy Innovation Hub's Machinery of Government blog.
50 / 50 TARGETS
Elizabeth van Acker and Linda Colley are researching the current barriers to reaching a 50/50 target in political parties and the election process.
Liz is also beginning a new project that explores feminist values that confronts many challenges in gender scholarship and practice. Ranging from anti-feminism resistance and populism to changing institutions and campaigns such as #metoo, politics is unstable but also offers opportunities for supporting change. This builds on her book Marriage and Values in Public Policy: Conflicts in the UK, the US and Australia.
TOWARDS INCLUSIVE PEACE
How do peace processes advance women’s rights? What are the optimal conditions that enable women’s participation in peace processes? In partnership with Monash University Gender, Peace and Security, Sara Davies is a co-Chief Investigator on ARC Linkage Project, Towards Inclusive Peace, Sara Davies is conducting in-depth fieldwork with local stakeholders in Myanmar and the Philippines to investigate the economic, social, and political conditions that enable or constrain women’s participation in peace processes.
Through the partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Linkage project has the opportunity to utilise in-depth case studies to support and engage consular delivery of assistance in aid programs in fragile and conflict affected states, as well as inform targeted aid delivery that supports women’s voice, agency and leadership.
WOMEN LEADERS IN MELANESIA
In a recent article with International Feminist Journal of Politics, Ceridwen Spark and CGPP Fellow, Jack Corbett, study existing explanations for why women do not get elected to parliament in Melanesia. Drawing on an extensive qualitative dataset, including forty in-depth interviews with emerging women leaders from three Melanesian countries, they find that many women are pessimistic about the way electoral politics are conducted. Echoing longstanding critiques of political practice, the women leaders see their political activity as being conducted in a parallel public sphere, in contexts in which they consider themselves better able to pursue programmatic reform.
YOUTH, TRANSITIONAL JUSTICE AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Women and youth disproportionately bear the burden of conflict, yet historically they have been marginalised by post conflict practices. Caitlin Mollica’s work examines youth’s engagement with transitional justice and human rights mechanisms. Her recent publication examines the diverse identities occupied by Solomon Islander youth during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. She also explores the unique ways that girls and young women experience conflict and instability and the inherently gendered nature of international peacebuilding programs. She highlights young female peacebuilders’ leadership capacity and contributions to peace through grassroots and civil society movements. Currently, Caitlin is developing a project that interrogates the intersections of the Women Peace and Security and Youth Peace and Security agendas, and explores the synergies and tensions between them.
WOMEN, PEACE & SECURITY COALITION BLOG
Other projects include working with the National Council of Women of Australia, Working Women's Centres across NT, SA and QLD, Violence Prevention Network, and Country Women's Association - using technology to increase gender equality & women's empowerment projects nationally and internationally.
Elise also has a personal blog that can be accessed here.