SRP (Groeiers): Gendering ethnicity & ethnicizing gender in politics & policy

Project Details


Gender and race/ethnicity are too often conceived of as operating in isolation from each other; this means ignoring the fact that members of ethnic minorities always have a gender and, vice versa, that men and women always have an ethnic background (i.e. they are considered as 'native' or as 'other' thanks to a history of migration). In general, politics and policies depart from an assumption that the subject of policy is 'male'. If the subject of policy should happen to be female the assumption is that she is 'native'. On the other hand the assumption in policies about ethnic minorities is frequently that they are male. Often within-group inequalities are (re)produced and (re)inforced in and through politics and policies that are the net result of this 'ethnic blindness' in the case of gender and of 'gender blindness' in the case of ethnic minorities. For instance, equality policy tools such as gender quotas tend to favour native women, while reserved seats for ethnic minority often favour ethnic minority men. Migrant and integration politics and policy risk missing the societal reality that migrant populations are increasingly female with implications for both masculinities and femininities. The motivations, tracks and endpoints of migration and integration are gendered. Equally, gender equality politics and policy are in danger of misconceiving what is at stake for ethnic minority women and men and misunderstanding the key sources and dynamics of gender inequality that affect them. As European societies become more heterogeneous, the need to understand these interactions and unintended policy consequences is both societally and scientifically important. Today's newly mixed societies, both in terms of the position of women and in terms of the ethnic groups involved, offer unprecedented possibilities for better theoretical understanding of conflicts and inequalities.

This research programme is concerned with the interrelatedness and intersection of two central discrimination mechanisms, gender and ethnicity. It critically investigates the ethnic dimension of gender politics and policies, and the gender dimension of ethnic minority politics and policies. The overall scientific objective is to establish how and why the interaction between gender and ethnicity affects the democratic quality, inclusiveness and effectiveness of politics and policy and its ability to reach such social goals as 'equality'. As a means to enhance theory building in the study of the interrelation between gender and ethnicity in European politics and policy, comparative analyses inquiring how differences between national settings, policy levels or sub-groups can be explained will be undertaken. More concretely, it has two main objectives each of them underpinned by several empirical research questions:

1. Furthering our empirical knowledge and theories about participation, political representation and decision-making at the intersection of gender and ethnicity. Research questions:
* If any, what is the interaction between descriptive representation (i.e. presence in political institutions and civil society) of women and ethnic minorities: do they go hand in hand, or are there trade-offs?
* Does descriptive representation of women and/or ethnic minorities increase the substantive representation of migrant women (i.e. the representation of their interests)? Does the intersection of ethnicity and gender vary depending on migration history or ethnic identity?
* Do ethnic minority organisations and/or women's organisations lobby the state in the interest of ethnic minority women? And do they do so in a different and/or complementary manner? What is the role of organizations that combine gender and ethnicity (ethnic women's organizations)?

2. Furthering our empirical knowledge and theories about the gendered implications of ethnic minority (integration, migration) policies and the implication of gender policies for ethnic minorities, and their mutual interactions. Research questions:
* What is the impact of policies aiming at furthering the position of women and gender equality on ethnic minority women (in comparison to ethnic majority women) and ethnic minority men?
* What is the impact of policies for ethnic minorities on ethnic minority women (in comparison to ethnic minority men)?
* What are the dominant frames underpinning both type of policies, and to which extent, why and how do they include or exclude ethnic minority women's concerns and interests?
* What differences do differences between ethnic groups make in these interactions (in terms of different histories of migration and colonialism, sizes, socio-economic positions and cultures)?
Effective start/end date1/03/1428/02/19


  • Ethnicity
  • Equality Policy
  • Migrant Policy
  • Democracy
  • Representation
  • Migrants
  • Political Parties

Flemish discipline codes in use since 2023

  • Other political science not elsewhere classified


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