The International Handbook on Social Innovation
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The International Handbook on Social Innovation

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Edited by Frank Moulaert, Diana MacCallum, Abid Mehmood and Abdelillah Hamdouch

The contributors provide an overview of theoretical perspectives, methodologies and instructive experiences from all continents, as well as implications for collective action and policy. They argue strongly for social innovation as a key to human development. The Handbook defines social innovation as innovation in social relations within both micro and macro spheres, with the purpose of satisfying unmet or new human needs across different layers of society. It connects social innovation to empowerment dynamics, thus giving a political character to social movements and bottom-up governance initiatives. Together these should lay the foundations for a fairer, more democratic society for all.
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Chapter 31: Gender and social innovation: the role of EU policies

Collective Action, Social Learning and Transdisciplinary Research

Isabel André


Gender equity is an essential dimension of social justice and welfare, comprising equal opportunities for women and men derived from structural changes in gender relations at the grand scale. Gender equity is, in itself, a fundamental human need related to autonomy and identity, a need which has been the focus of social movements throughout history. This chapter argues that the transformation of gender relations in Europe in the last four decades has been leveraged by specific public policies, stimulating social innovation in everyday practices especially in family and labour market spheres. The argument also addresses the ideological meaning of these transformations, as they represent a tension between patriarchy and capitalism. Does such change reveal the emergence or the possibility of a non-patriarchal capitalism? Three complementary topics are considered in this chapter: (i) the deepness of gender relations dynamics in present-day Europe compelled by four decades of equal opportunity policies; (ii) the crucial focus and the main agents of social innovation that may allow for a fairer society in terms of gender equity; (iii) the transformation of gender norms as a decisive pillar of social innovation in gender relations.

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