CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

The concept of gender is now widely used in the analysis of public policies. The abundant research and variety of approaches deployed in this area merit, therefore, an effort to step back and gain perspective, both historical and analytical. The purpose of doing so is to discern possible differences in the ways the concept of gender is used in such analyses, in France and elsewhere. Beginning in the 1980s, the introduction of the concept of gender complicated what had been a primary and initial distinction, one between research focused on “women” and feminist research. The concept of gender itself has several definitions and its analytical location varies in different studies. Hence our goal is to map a typology of the various uses of gender, with the objective being to underscore the need to make the status of gender explicit in any analysis. The point is not to endorse any single approach. Rather, articulating the status of gender in analyses of public policy will ensure a measure of coherence between the methodology employed and the theoretical premises advanced.


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