This is the kick-off workshop for the research project “When and Why Do States Respond to Women's Claims? Understanding Gender-Egalitarian Policy Change in Asia”, funded by the Ford Foundation. The aim of the workshop is for the research teams from China, India, and Indonesia to discuss key issues related to the project and to develop a shared comparative methodology for the research. The workshop will host scholars and activists with expertise in comparative methodology as well as in gender and policy issues, whose contributions will be crucial to deepen understandings of the similarities and differences across countries and to strengthen the analytical focus of the research.
During this workshop, we hope therefore to develop a shared and consistent research strategy that will reinforce the comparison across and within the selected countries and issues in order to contribute to the debate on gender equality with innovative insights on policy change and implementation.
UNRISD’s research project “When and Why Do States Respond to Women's Claims? Understanding Gender-Egalitarian Policy Change in Asia”, funded by the Ford Foundation, seeks to understand how policy change to strengthen women’s rights occurs. When and why do states respond to women’s claims-making? What are the factors and conditions under which non-state actors can effectively trigger and influence policy change and policy implementation? What might be the factors that explain the variations in gender equality policies both within and across countries? What other actors—state, elites, donors—nationally or transnationally, may be the catalysts of policy change? What are the mechanisms necessary to ensure policy implementation?
These are some of the questions to be explored by the project through cross-national and cross-issue comparisons among three of the largest and most diverse countries of Asia: China, India, and Indonesia. Their sheer size and political weight, alongside different political systems, with varying levels and degrees of democratization and decentralization/regional and local autonomy, and other forms of diversity (ethnic, religious, geographic, and so on) suggests that understanding what happens in these countries potentially has enormous significance for gender equality policy in the Asian region.
The comparative analysis will consider two broad policy areas: issues of physical/bodily integrity (violence against women and sexual and reproductive health and rights) and economic and social rights (ownership and recognition as reflected in family status laws and labour rights in the market economy).