Managing the Woman Issue
Recent international accounts of gender and governance have highlighted complexities surrounding the political mobilization of women on the one hand, and the reconfiguration of the state on the other. The trajectories taken by women's movements have intersected and interacted with a rapidly changing political opportunity structure and with increasingly unfavourable shifts in dominant discourses. In the past, Australia has been heralded as a woman-friendly state, complete with femocrats overseeing gendered policy analysis of mainstream programmes as well as a broad range of women's service. Recent discursive shifts, however, combined with the changing architecture of the state and a women's movement largely in abeyance, have resulted in the 'fall of the femocrat' and increasing marginalization of feminist agendas. As observed elsewhere, such shifts position women in ways that only selectively recognize them and their capacities and needs. We extend such critiques by mapping over time the engagement with the state of a particular group of rural women. This case study enables us to identify both the heterogeneity of contemporary governance, and the complex, multi-level responses to farm women's agitation for greater industry recognition.
International Feminist Journal of Politics
Political Science not elsewhere classified