The Marginalization of Canadian Civil Society Organizations and the Challenges of Promoting Gender Equality under the Harper Conservatives (2006-2015)

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Title: The Marginalization of Canadian Civil Society Organizations and the Challenges of Promoting Gender Equality under the Harper Conservatives (2006-2015)
Authors: Walde, Sara
Date: 2015-09
Abstract: Using a critical feminist lens, this major research paper examines the state of gender equality in Canada’s foreign policy after a 10 year Conservative government reign. A review of feminist literature demonstrates an erasure of gender equality in foreign policy documents and a corresponding essentializing and instrumentalist discourse surrounding women and girls in key programming and policy. This literature review is enhanced by empirical research with Canadian civil society organizations (CSOs). Interviews with CSO representatives uncovered an overall trend of CSOs being marginalized from policy making between 2006 and 2015. Several core findings support this trend: (1) CSOs perceived a lack of overarching vision in the government approach to gender equality, a vision they were discouraged from constructively and publicly critiquing; (2) there was a freezing of the relationship between CSOs and the government; (3) the role of CSOs in policy making was being changed from advocate and partner to direct service provider; (4) CSOs began to implement new strategies for influence; and (5) CSOs were working in a unique political context whereby CSOs were disconnected from policy making. These findings highlight the overall failure on the part of the Harper Conservatives to promote a transformative agenda for gender equality within Canadian foreign policy.
URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/34143
CollectionDIM - Mémoires // IDGS - Research Papers
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