Chapter 23: Partners in Policy: Academic–Practitioner Collaboration for Equity in Education and Skills Training
23. Partners in policy: academic– practitioner collaboration for equity in education and skills training Mary Gatta INTRODUCTION For centuries, US public policy has been infused with gender beliefs1 and assumptions that have served to create and maintain existing structures of inequality between men and women. As a result, gender is an implicit and explicit structuring principle of past and contemporary policy. Be it military policy, health policy, reproductive policy, or virtually any other policy arena, constructions of socially appropriate gender paradigm continue to influence policy throughout the United States. At times this influence can be quite clear – such as controlling women’s ability and choice to have children via abortion rights or forced sterilization. At other times the gendered notions are more implicit, such as building on hyper-masculinity and manliness to justify sending men (and not women) to the front lines of war. Yet it is not just that conceptualizations of masculinity and femininity underlie public policy; the actual impacts of policies can differentially affect men and women. Forced work requirements as a condition for welfare, for example, can adversely affect women more than men, as women tend to bear the brunt of family’s unpaid caring labor. As such, childcare and eldercare demands often make it difficult for women to work in the paid labor force in the first place, pushing them into poverty and necessitating social welfare. By understanding how gendered notions of caring work impact on women’s lives, it then stands to reason that simply forcing them into work...
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