Gender and Childcare:Creating a space for 'womenandchildren' in Irish policy-making.
Carney, Gemma M.
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Carney, G.M. (2004) Gender and Childcare:Creating a space for ¿womenandchildren¿ in Irish policy-making, Presented at the Irish Social Policy Association Conference, Dublin.
This paper grows from doctoral research on gender mainstreaming in the Republic of Ireland. Interviews with equality policy-makers revealed that initial investment in childcare, (£1m in 1993), was used by policy-makers to establish gender equality as a legitimate aspect of the Irish policy-making system. This paper asks to what extent does childcare policy interact with gender policy to create effective institutional space for women and children? Policy-makers incremental approach to policy-making meant that the identification of childcare as an economic issue gave those interested in gender equality policy an opportunity to gain funding, establish links with NGOs and international organisations, and begin to build a coherent policy base for gender equality. Significantly, innovative policy-makers at the Department of Justice Equality and Law Reform identified the potential of childcare to become a mainstream concern, and built a reputation as pragmatic egalitarians within the policy-making community. This paper investigates the extent to which childcare policy can create bureaucratic space for gender issues. More pertinently, what is the potential of current strategies to produce integrated family and gender policy in the Republic of Ireland?