Marian Sawer
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The life and times of women’s policy machinery in Australia

Historically in Australia women have been policy shapers as well as policy takers and have called on the state to promote social reform and equal opportunity. This chapter describes the impact of the discursive shifts on women's policy machinery, primarily at the federal level but with some broader comments relating to subnational levels of government. The structures for gender accountability within government, which Australia helped to pioneer, have been threatened by discursive shifts within the government. Processes for promoting gender equality in policy design and service delivery have been recast as a form of rent seeking as well as an obstacle to international competitiveness. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women's (CEDAW) criticisms of the Australian government's retreat on gender equality received wide media coverage and in turn provoked a furious reaction from the government.

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Mainstreaming gender, democratizing the state?

Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women



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