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  • Priyank Sharma

Policy Analysis: Gender vs Gendering

This is a technical post, albeit an important one. I would try to put it across in as much simple words as possible; please read Prof. Emerita Carol Bacchi for a more detailed in-depth note.

This will help people working in the domain of gender and intersectionalities (intersectionality refers to interconnectedness nature of social categories like gender, caste, class, etc.).

There's a recurring theme in policy analysis and research, that's of gender. It's incredible that we want to examine our practices from different lenses. In fact, you would have read innumerable reports on how gendered our practices and policies are, and what more we need to do (which is mostly missing though).

Here, I am going to introduce the concept of gendering.

When we say "Gender", we refer to a noun, something that exists out there. However, it doesn't capture the continuous nature of the social category. For instance, it's not enough to say that I am a man or a woman, but also to talk about how I come to be a man or a woman.

"The term “gendering” adopts a verb form of the noun “gender” to capture the active, ongoing, and always incomplete processes that constitute (make come into existence) (Jones 1997, 265) “women” and “men” as specific kinds of unequal subjects."

So, when we analyze policies, we need to also analyze our own position to examine it and conceptualize how policies add to potentially gendering practices.

This work of actively examining our own position and the shifting the lens from a noun to verb changes the way we examine or analyze policies.

In fact, you can look at different positions through this lens, for instance, governance or the shift from colonialism to coloniality, etc. Interestingly, all of this quickly changes my position and asks insightful questions.

Next time, when you analyze a policy, tell us how policies contribute to gendering!

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