Gender & Cultural Diversity in Politics: Australia, Asia & the Pacific

Research that helps us understand and overcome the lack of gender diversity in politics is dominated by studies from Euro-America. Theories, concepts and analytical frames developed from a small number of country contexts are applied to the ‘rest of the world’. This workshop aims to turn this production of knowledge on its head, centring scholarship about gender and politics from Asia and the Pacific to rethink the certainties as to what is known, the theoretical and conceptual tools we use, and the research directions we pursue. The aim is to advance the field of gender and politics internationally, while also distilling key lessons that can help address the underrepresentation of Australians from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds in politics at all levels, particularly ‘Women of Colour’.

This two-day workshop will bring together scholars/researchers/practitioners working on gender and politics across Asia and the Pacific (including Australia) to engage in inter-disciplinary dialogue about gender, political leadership, representation and participation. Together, we will answer three questions:

1. What are the consequences of the centring of Euro-American perspectives in the study of gender in politics? What are the opportunities for theorising from Asia and the Pacific?

2. How can research on gender and politics in Asia and the Pacific inform theory and practice of Australian politics? In particular, how can we leverage our knowledge to understand and address the lack of diversity at all levels of government?

3. What are the priorities for research and practical action in order to increase the political representation of Asian Australians and other ‘people of colour’ in Australia?

Privileging perspectives from Asia and the Pacific is not to exclude research that draws upon analytical and theoretical models with their origins in Euro-American experiences. Through dialogue we aim to find new ways of looking at familiar problems, while also appreciating how extant tools remain useful to understand the global problem of women’s political under-representation. Facilitated discussion between academics, practitioners and policy makers will identify research directions with the most potential to inform practice.

The workshop will be held in hybrid form, planning for both face-to-face and online participation. We are particularly keen for participation by researchers located in institutions in Asia and the Pacific. It will be held between 13 and 15 July 2022 at the ANU Campus in Canberra and online.

While the program will remain much the same as the initial program planned for February, some modifications will be made closer to the time to accommodate late changes and speaker availability.

An ANU Gender Institute Signature Event, supported by The Global Institute for Women’s Leadership, ANU, The Centre for Asian Australian Leadership and the School of Culture, History and Language

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