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The continued importance of a feminist analysis: gendered inequalities visible through a critique of Howard government policy on domestic violence

Macfarlane, Selma and Morley, Christine 2008, The continued importance of a feminist analysis: gendered inequalities visible through a critique of Howard government policy on domestic violence, Just policy, vol. 47, Health through action on social exclusion edition, pp. 31-37.

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Title The continued importance of a feminist analysis: gendered inequalities visible through a critique of Howard government policy on domestic violence
Author(s) Macfarlane, Selma
Morley, Christine
Journal name Just policy
Volume number 47
Season Health through action on social exclusion edition
Start page 31
End page 37
Total pages 7
Publisher RMIT Publishing
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic.
Publication date 2008-03
ISSN 1323-2266
Keyword(s) social policy
feminism
domestic violence
Howard Government
racism
neo-liberal
Summary This paper argues that feminist analyses remain crucial to any critical analysis of social policy. From the outset, it needs to be said that we are not suggesting that other critical analyses are less important, such as anti-racist analysis, for example (Dominelli 2002a, 2002b). We also acknowledge the significance of intersectionality theory which identifies the ways in which race and racism may compound gender inequality to shape experiences of oppression or privilege (Mullings & Schultz 2006; Weber 2006). Having said this, in this paper we argue that feminist analyses remain as important as ever, in challenging dominant patriarchal/capitalist discourse currently informing social policy in Australia.

As a counter discourse, feminism puts women’s experiences and the unequal relationships of patriarchy at the forefront of analysis, highlights gender inequalities entrenched in social institutions and policy, and draws attention to the organisation of society along gender specific lines and the inequalities resulting from the relegation of women to the private sphere (Dominelli 2002a).

Specifically, we will demonstrate that the Howard government’s policy responses to the issue of family violence have reflected a renewed attack on previous gains made by women, and exemplify a neo-liberal, neo-conservative approach to social policy that demands a critical feminist analysis. Given the recent federal election, it seems particularly timely to reassert the importance of a feminist analysis of social policy and to direct the attention of the new federal government towards reversing recent trends to de-politicise violence towards women.
Language eng
Field of Research 160512 Social Policy
160703 Social Program Evaluation
169901 Gender Specific Studies
Socio Economic Objective 920507 Women's Health
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30055657

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Health and Social Development
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Created: Tue, 03 Sep 2013, 15:49:45 EST by Selma Macfarlane

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