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UNIT-4 Gender Perspectives on Public Administration Notes (PPA)

INTRODUCTION

  • The 20th century witnessed a significant transformation in various fields of science and social sciences, including public administration, due to the focus on social issues such as gender equality.

  • Feminist perspectives have expanded the boundaries and norms of public administration, considering it as a methodology of investigation and a theoretical explanation to redefine reality.

  • The feminist approach to public administration revolves around three key factors: the inclusion of women-friendly policies in governance, the participation of women in public administration, and a change in the perception of gender issues within administration.

  • The latter factor holds particular importance and serves as the central theme of this unit.




  • It highlights the different aspects of gender analysis in governance, as gender-related issues have become significant concerns in contemporary society.

  • Scholars recognize that gender and environmental topics are gradually gaining recognition within the discipline of public administration.

  • The global movement to increase women's involvement in public administration is attributed to factors such as globalization and advancements in information technology, which have sparked renewed interest in previously neglected gender issues.



THE GENDER PERSPECTIVE TO ADMINISTRATION

  • The Management Approach advocates transforming bureaucratic government into an entrepreneurial one in public administration.

  • The rejuvenated project challenges the Weberian model of bureaucratic organization and emphasizes that administrative structures and principles are not fixed.

  • The feminist views on bureaucracy gained more attention with the release of the National Performance Review report in 1993 under the Clinton administration.

  • However, feminist scholars faced challenges in gaining recognition for their ideas, as public administration remained rooted in a male-oriented, upper-class, and white perspective.

  • The feminist perspective seeks to make women's experiences visible and advocates for a gender-inclusive approach to public administration.

  • The study of feminist public administration includes exploring feminist theory, investigating the gender dynamics of governance, and examining how administrative policies contribute to the unequal treatment of women and men.

  • Gender relations and administrative states are interconnected and influence each other.



FEMINIST APPROACH

  • A feminist is someone who recognizes gender as an important category of analysis and critically examines women's current status and prospects.

  • Feminism encompasses diverse ideas and actions, with different political viewpoints such as liberal, Marxist, socialist, radical, and post-modern.

  • The goal of feminism is to address and eliminate gender-based inequality.

  • Feminists focus on power relations and the differences in access to resources and decision-making between men and women.

  • Feminism is not about creating exclusive spaces for women but about embracing diverse gender perspectives and challenging traditional power relations.

  • The feminist perspective seeks to change the masculine nature of old theories and practices in public administration.

  • Using a gender lens involves making women and other genders visible in social phenomena and questioning the systematic differences in social processes, standards, and opportunities between men and women.



(i) GENDER OF GOVERNANCE

  • The Gender of Governance feminist approach focuses on analyzing the gender dynamics within governance structures and policies.

  • It recognizes gender as a critical category of analysis in understanding power relations and inequalities.

  • Feminist scholars examine how administrative power, institutions, and policies are organized around the domination of males and the subordination of females.

  • The approach also investigates the concept of "governance of gender," which examines how administrative policies reinforce gender disparities and treat women and men differently and unequally.

  • It highlights the interconnection between gender relations and administrative states, recognizing that they mutually influence and shape each other.

  • The Gender of Governance feminist approach aims to challenge and transform gender biases and inequalities within governance systems.

  • It seeks to create a more inclusive and equitable approach to governance that addresses gender disparities and promotes equal opportunities for all genders.



(ii) GOVERNANCE OF GENDER

  • The Governance of Gender feminist approach examines how administrative policies and practices shape and reinforce gender roles and inequalities.

  • It focuses on the ways in which governance structures and processes contribute to the subordination and marginalization of certain genders.

  • The approach highlights the need to address gender biases and discrimination within governance systems.

  • It calls for the inclusion of gender perspectives in policy formulation, implementation, and evaluation.

  • The Governance of Gender approach aims to challenge traditional notions of gender roles and promote gender equality and social justice in governance.

  • It emphasizes the importance of equal representation and meaningful participation of all genders in decision-making processes.

  • The approach recognizes the interconnectedness between gender dynamics and governance outcomes, emphasizing the need to transform power relations and promote gender-responsive governance.

  • It seeks to create governance systems that recognize and value the diversity of gender identities and experiences, fostering inclusivity and equality for all.



Parameters of Understanding Gender in Administration


1. Gender as a Category of Analysis

  • Gender is recognized as a significant category of analysis in understanding administrative processes and outcomes.

  • It focuses on the ways in which gender influences power relations, social roles, and access to resources within administration.


2. Gender Mainstreaming

  • Gender mainstreaming involves integrating a gender perspective into all aspects of administrative policies and practices.

  • It aims to address gender disparities and promote gender equality in decision-making, resource allocation, and service delivery.


3. Gender-Sensitive Policies

  • Gender-sensitive policies are designed to address the specific needs and experiences of different genders.

  • They aim to eliminate gender-based discrimination, promote equal opportunities, and create inclusive administrative environments.



4. Gender and Leadership

  • Gender and leadership examines the representation and participation of different genders in leadership positions within administration.

  • It explores the barriers and challenges faced by women and other marginalized genders in accessing leadership roles.


5. Gender-Based Violence and Harassment

  • Gender-based violence and harassment in administration is a critical issue that needs to be addressed.

  • It involves implementing policies and procedures to prevent and respond to gender-based violence and create safe working environments.


6. Intersectionality

  • Intersectionality recognizes that gender intersects with other social identities, such as race, class, and ethnicity.

  • It acknowledges the unique experiences and challenges faced by individuals with multiple marginalized identities within administration.




CONCEPT OF SOCIAL PARTICIPATION

  • Social participation has been a subject of study for sociologists, with different perspectives on its importance and impact.

  • Earlier views considered social participation as an indicator of social status or a means of self-fulfillment.

  • Voluntary associations have been seen as important for pluralism, community integration, political socialization, and social change.

  • Social participation is influenced by socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, self-esteem, and other socio-psychological traits.

  • It requires the mobilization of individuals, local organizations, and social institutions for community or societal development.

  • Social participation is a human act based on mutual trust and involves individuals taking part in the development of their society.

  • It enables people to understand their surroundings, address common issues, and become agents of their own development.

  • Government can enhance social participation by respecting the community's knowledge and skills, promoting co-decision making, and sharing information.

  • Techniques like Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) facilitate participation by emphasizing local knowledge and collaborative planning.

  • Participation contributes to the development process by providing information, evaluating resource utilization, increasing acceptance of changes, and fostering cooperation and empowerment.




GENDER ISSUES: THE GENERAL PARAMETERS

  • Gender issues involve the qualitative and interdependent nature of men and women's positions in society, influenced by production and reproduction conditions and cultural, religious, and ideological factors.

  • Gender is distinct from sex, with sex being biological and gender being shaped by social situations and interactions.

  • Gender roles and norms vary across countries and regions and can be changed through government policies, education, media, and opinion leaders.

  • The Constitution of India protects women's rights and privileges, ensuring equal opportunities in political, economic, and social spheres and prohibiting discrimination based on sex.

  • Various laws and acts have been passed to address women's issues, including property rights, domestic violence, child marriage, immoral trafficking, and more.

  • There has been a demand for 33% reservation for women in parliament, and constitutional amendments have reserved seats for women in local government.

  • Women's groups have different interests, including political, economic survival, and strategic objectives.




  • Development plans in India have focused on women's welfare, multidisciplinary approaches, empowerment, human development, and gender budgeting.

  • Initiatives such as Women's Component Plan, beneficiary-oriented schemes, and special monitoring mechanisms have been implemented to support women's development.

  • Special programs and policies have been launched for women's employment, self-reliance, access to credit, empowerment, rehabilitation, and combating violence against women and girls.

  • The Tenth Five Year Plan adopts an action-oriented approach with planned goals for women's empowerment and continuation of initiatives from previous plans.


ENGENDERING PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND DEVELOPMENT


  1. The inclusion of gender issues in public administration studies came about in the 1980s, with a focus on women as an empirical and theoretical area of concern.

  • Shift in Approaches: The approach to women's empowerment in public administration shifted from "welfare" to "equity" to "anti-poverty" and then to two distinct approaches: efficiency and empowerment.

  • Equity Approach: Views women as active participants in the development process and emphasizes meeting strategic gender needs, linking development with equity and redistribution of power.

  • Empowerment Approach: Recognizes the role of women and women's organizations as agents of change, advocating for a bottom-up approach to raise women's consciousness and address practical and strategic gender needs.



Constitutional Amendments and Women's Participation

  • The 73rd and 74th Constitutional Amendments in 1993 increased women's participation in local self-government in rural and urban areas, enabling them to be involved in decision-making processes that affect their lives the most.


1. Health and Nutritional Status

  • Focus on improving the availability and utility of services such as primary health and family welfare, with particular attention to underprivileged sections of the population, especially poor women and children.

  • Emphasis on essential obstetric care, early pregnancy registration, risk factor screening, managing high-risk pregnancies, addressing anemia and hypertension disorders, and providing referral care for at-risk mothers.



2. Education for Women

  • Education is recognized as a fundamental right and a key element for women's empowerment.

  • Efforts to decrease gender gaps in secondary and higher education levels and address low female literacy rates, especially among socially disadvantaged groups such as SCs, STs, OBCs, minorities, and disabled individuals.

3. Status of Girl Child

  • Constitutional provisions ensure the rights to survival, protection, and development of the girl child.

  • Prohibitions on denial of equality, special provisions for children, anti-trafficking measures, prohibition of child labor, and guarantees of compulsory education up to the age of 14.

4. Women and Weaker Sections

  • Measures to empower SC/ST groups, including support for traditional skills, access to credit, fair wages, modernizing technologies, and upgrading skills in traditional arts and crafts.

  • Allocation of funds proportional to their population under schemes like SCP and encouragement of private and corporate sector investment in the welfare of weaker sections.




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