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The University of Texas at Austin

Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs



Conference on Gender, Globalization, and Governance

Conference Background

In many ways, the twentieth century could be considered the "women's century." From the suffrage associations of the early twentieth century to the current feminist third wave, the modern women's movement has resulted in some of the most significant societal transformations of the twentieth century. Equally transformative and controversial in nature has been the rise of globalization in the late twentieth century. Although both phenomena have been extensively researched and debated, it is the intersection of these two forces, the gender-globalization nexus, which has produced far more complex and contradictory results.

This conference seeks to examine the twenty-first century implications of the intersection of the modern women's movement and the rise of globalization. As globalization has created increasing transnational connections, governance institutions have undergone rapid transformations, becoming more heterogeneous and porous to outside influences. The result of these changes holds both opportunities and obstacles for the future of women's rights. This conference will consider the respective roles of international governance, states, and non-state actors in crafting gender policy, contributing to debates about how international and national policymakers negotiate the changing global order.

Panel discussions will be motivated by the following central questions:

  1. Has the balance of power shifted away from states in the process of gender policy formation? If so, what models of governance dominate gender policymaking both at the national and international planes?
  2. What roles do women's rights advocates play in various governance structures, and how has that affected gender policy?
  3. What should be the relationship between states and non-state actors in the ongoing development of gender policy?

The principal aim of this conference is to provide the foundation for a multidisciplinary network of professors and students that will engage in policy-oriented research and discussion on the subject of gender and globalization. It is hoped that such a network will not only increase cooperation and camaraderie across disciplines at the university but will generate continued dialogues among a new generation of policymakers, researchers, and activists.