Gender and Australian Aid Policy: can women's rights be advanced within a neo-liberal framework?

Patrick Kilby, Kate Olivieri

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    The issue of gender and development has been an important part of the development discourse since the Mexico City Women Conference in 1973. This concern has been very slow to transform itself into policy. For development agencies including AusAID it has been a subsidiary policy area or an add-on, as a recipe might say'add women and stir'. The White Paper of 2007 brought gender to the centre of policy as an overarching principle. The question that arises is the extent to which these policies fit into or are driven by the neo-liberal paradigm underpinning the aid program, or if these policies can challenge it by positing a rights agenda. The 2007 Gender policy tries to sit between the two in that it focuses on the economic role that women can play in fostering growth on the one hand, and the denial of human rights that marginalisation and disempowerment represents. This paper will explore the development of gender policy in AusAID, and compare it with the development of policy of other agencies that follow the neo-liberal framework in particular the World Bank and ADB. Finally the paper will make some suggestions for the new Labor government to strengthen the Policy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)319-331
    JournalAustralian Journal of International Affairs
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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