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Women, Gender, and Politics

N15(a) - Workshop: Not Just Because It's 2019: Intersectional Politics in the New Trudeau Era I (Joint Workshop)

Date: Jun 6 | Time: 08:45am to 10:15am | Location: SWING 407

Joint Session / Séance conjointe : Women, Gender and Politics Section / Canadian Politics / Race, Ethnicity, Indigenous People and Politics

Chair/Président/Présidente : Lois Harder (University of Alberta)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : Kelly Gordon (McGill University)

Mediating Gender Mainstreaming: Media Representations of GBA+ in Canada: Stephanie Paterson (Concordia University), Francesca Scala (Concordia University)
Abstract: Gender-based analysis plus (GBA+) is a debated concept due to multiple and contested meanings around gender, (in)equality, and intersectionality. Scholarly work has focused on how these contested meanings have manifested themselves in GBA+ practise, serving to mitigate its application and impact on policy processes and outcomes. Given its role in policy analysis, it is not surprising that GBA+ has been shielded to some extent from public scrutiny, serving to (mostly) limit its discursive field to the bureaucracy, where technocratic understandings of the function and goals of GBA+ dominate. This changed during the 2017 and 2018 federal budget processes, when several media outlets reported on GBA+ and its application to the budgets as part of Prime Minister Trudeau’s “Feminist Government”. In this paper, we use critical discourse analysis to investigate the ways in which media represented GBA+ as either “policymaking as normal” or as a symptom of a politicized bureaucracy, reinforcing a dichotomy between technocratic and political interpretations of gender mainstreaming. The paper concludes with a discussion on how these discursive positionings not only undermine the transformative potential of GBA+, but also work to silence claims for change both within and outside of the bureaucracy.

Intersectionality and Gender-Based Analysis in Quebec: Chantal Maille (Concordia University)
Abstract: This paper presents the results of an ongoing research project on gender-based analysis (GBA) and intersectionality in Quebec, using a qualitative methodology based on policy analysis and interviews. The intersectional approach is now seen as an important turning point in feminist practices in Francophonie but there is resistance as the figure of the universal woman is still present in francophone feminisms. I identify some of the problems related to the development of an intersectional gender-based analysis in the francophone context of Quebec. My analysis exposes some of the resistance found towards an analysis decentered from a universal subject-woman. Concepts and categories of differences that are predominant in francophone feminisms reveal specific forms of theorization of differences. French feminist theories that give precedence to gender in their analysis of women’s oppression have had some influence on feminist debates in Quebec and might explain current resistances to the project of intersectionalizing GBA. Despite these obstacles, there are many interesting examples of intersectional GBA projects conducted by Quebec women’s groups. These projects are innovative in their methodologies and their approaches to categories of difference but challenges regarding the enrichment of GBA in a francophone context are complex. The conversation must continue on intersectional gender-based analysis as a policy and as a practice for the specific context of Quebec, an exercise eminently political that is situated beyond the logic of states and public administrations and it is important that women and feminists of all origins be part of it.

Colonial Carcerality in an Era of “Reconciliation”: Jessica Jurgutis (McMaster University)
Abstract: In this paper, I draw on the work of Indigenous feminists to reposition national conversations on reconciliation and transitional justice within historically- and geographically-situated carceral relations; where Canada’s ongoing drive to access and control land is still being accomplished through the politics of containment, the carceral net (Nason, 2016), and what I term ‘colonial carcerality.’ Colonial carcerality is a governance strategy that relies on inflicting ongoing harm to land, and to Indigenous, gender non-conforming and poor people of colour through criminalization. Drawing on Indigenous feminist contributions to carceral studies (Simpson, A. 2008; 2014; Simpson, L., 2008; Lumsden, 2016; Monchalin, 2016; Nason, 2016; Palmater, 2016; Ross, 2016; Stark, 2016), I argue colonial carcerality exists both within and beyond Canadian governance. In particular, I argue it is central to an ongoing assimilationist agenda in the way that it targets and seeks to harm not only particular expressions of human life, but also the life of the land, water, plants, animals and other beings, and the forms of relationality that lie therein.