A Battle about Gender Equality: Affect, Expertise and Resistance in the Strategic State

Friday, 20 July 2018: 17:30
Oral Presentation
Hanna YLÖSTALO, University of Helsinki, Finland
In my presentation I analyze a case in which researchers, including myself, aimed for setting gender equality on the agenda of the Finnish government. We provided a gender impact assessment of the government programme, in which we analyzed austerity policies of the government through gender lenses, based on feminist economic theory. The case is analyzed as an example of, firstly, the changing conditions of equality policy and feminist resistance in the ‘strategic state’, a form of neoliberal governance where the neoclassical theory of economy sets the frameworks of policymaking. Secondly, the case is analyzed as an example of the chances of academic expertise to have an impact on political decision making. The data consists of the researchers’ gender impact assessment of the government programme as well as the making process of the assessment; the news reportage about the assessment; and politicians’ responses and the policy effects of the assessment. The process is represented as a new form of resistance. The analysis makes visible how the strategic state is a difficult companion for gender equality, equality policy and feminist resistance.

My presentation is based on an article written Anna Elomäki, Johanna Kantola, Anu Koivunen and myself, published in a Finnish journal Sosiologia (4/2016).