Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

[Gender Politics in Contemporary Canada]

Academic journal article Resources for Feminist Research

[Gender Politics in Contemporary Canada]

Article excerpt

Gender Politics in Contemporary Canada

Francois - Pierre Gingras, ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1995; 273 pp.

Reviewed by Margaret Beattie Departement de service social Universite de Sherbrooke Sherbrooke, Quebec

This book is interesting for its juxtaposition of two fields which were unknown in political science a generation ago: women and politics, and public policy. It is also useful for its occasional references and its concluding chapter by Caroline Andrew concerning strains of feminist methodology. In that same vein, its third section, on portraying gender, may be read for its function of "naming," important to the development of a feminist position.

If women are in politics, it is often for their urge to change public policy, as Tremblay's study of the 1989 Quebec election illustrates, in its attempt to analyze the receptivity of the political system to feminist demands where more women are in power, and the impact on gender relations. Tremblay finds divergences according to ideology and a precarious relationship between women's presence and women's demands, which are in agreement with other studies. (Those studies are, however, somewhat dated.)

In the same section, on gender and the party system, Jane Arscott's study based on the Royal Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing similarly challenges the idea of the "critical mass" and a breakthrough in public policy outcomes. It draws attention to the issues of weakness of women and minorities in the system of group representation.

Part II, "Gender and Public Policy," gives a centre to the book, with political theory (Jacobs on equity and opportunity) and group approaches (Burt on national organization activism and state response). …

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