Seminar 5 – Gendered Policy and Women’s (in)Equality, Friday September 16th 2016




Hanson Room
Humanities Bridgeford Street
University of Manchester


  • Professor Francesca Gains (Manchester)
  • Professor Claire Annesley (Sussex)

Comparative research has found that ‘costly’ gender equality policies – those with redistributive effects – make it onto government agendas when the economy is performing well (Annesley and Gains 2013; Annesley et al 2014). The presence of social democrats in government or parliament also makes it more likely that policies to improve women’s economic independence will gain executive attention (Annesley, Engeli and Gains 2015). But what happens to policies which directly or indirectly address gender inequalities when economic and political circumstances change?

This seminar will seek answers to this question by examining gendered policy change across a range of policy domains in the UK following the global financial crisis in 2007 and the election of Conservative-led governments in 2010 and 2015. Given the shift in economic and political conditions we expect costly gender equality policies to fall off the agenda. However, we anticipate that there may still be space for a Conservative or Conservative led government working under conditions of ‘austerity’ to promote issues related to women’s status – those addressing the subordinate position of women as a group (Htun and Weldon 2012) – as these do not have financial redistributive effects (Annesley Engeli and Gains 2015).

This seminar will bring together academic and policy experts to assess the gendered impacts of policy change since 2010 – both ‘costly’ and ‘status’ policies. We will seek to publish findings from the seminar as a special issue.

Time Session
10:45-11:00 Coffee and pastries
11:00-11.30 Welcome: Gender Equality Policy after ‘good times’ –  Claire Annesley and Francesca Gains
11:30-13:30 Policies addressing the class basis of women’s (in) equalities:

  • Anthony Rafferty (Manchester) on the gender equality impact of recession and austerity
  • Debora Price (Manchester) The gendered aspects of pensioner poverty


  • Patrick Diamond (Queen Mary)
  • Angela O’Hagan (UK and Scottish Women’s Budget Group) (tbc)
13:00-14:30 Lunch
14:00-16:30 Policies addressing the status basis of women’s (in)equalities:

  • Sylvia Walby (Lancaster) on Domestic Violence Policies (tbc)
  • Jessica Read (Bristol) on Women and Sport Policy
  • Danny Fitzpatrick (Manchester) – Equality and Diversity in Whitehall


  • Laura McCallister (Liverpool)
  • Chris Copeland (Nottinghamshire PCC’s office) (tbc)
16:45-17:30 Plenary with tea, cake and wine: Gendering Policy Impacts in Austerity Britain