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Women and New LabourEngendering politics and policy?$
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Claire Annesley, Francesca Gains, and Kirstein Rummery

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348289

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348289.001.0001

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Theoretical underpinnings: women, gender, feminising and politics

Theoretical underpinnings: women, gender, feminising and politics

(p.26) (p.27) Two Theoretical underpinnings: women, gender, feminising and politics
Women and New Labour

R. Wilson Angelia

Policy Press

This chapter describes the range of concepts appropriate to any discussion of women and New Labour. It presents a brief consideration of the equality/difference debate and subsequent questioning of gender construction. The chapter then explains the language of ‘feminisation’ as employed by Lovenduski, as well as that of ‘gender mainstreaming’ appearing in policy contexts. It situates New Labour and its ‘women-friendly’ policy focus within this complex and changing conceptual terrain. Gender becomes a linguistic power tool in both deconstructing and reconstructing social discourses on women and men, difference and sameness, apparitions of truth, and metanarratives. Without a doubt, New Labour offered more of an opportunity to be more feminist than any previous government. However, there remain a number of questions. Interestingly, the rise of New Labour and its ‘agenda for women’ bizarrely coincided with a crisis within what has been labeled historically ‘the women's movement’.

Keywords:   women, New Labour, feminisation, gender mainstreaming, women-friendly policy

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