The Politics of Gender Policies: A Comparative Framework applied to the Peruvian Case
Keywords:gender policies, Peru, policy reform, substantive representation of women, church-state relations, womenâ€™s rights
Through an analysis of gender policies, this article seeks to advance the study of womenâ€™s substantive representation. Traditional and non-traditional actors or agents shape policy outcomes, but it is important to observe the policy environment and political opportunities that are involved in reforms. Selected gender policies in the Peruvian context provide evidence of such dynamics. This article proposes a framework for analysing variations in gender policy outcomes in the Peruvian case by mapping factors of influence such as the presence of critical actors (e.g. National Congress, non-government organisations, government agencies), features of the policy environment (international legal standards and public opinion) and presidential support. The author argues that gender equality policies are influenced by the usual policy-making elements but also by the doctrines of the Catholic Church and, more recently, evangelical churches. The article also critically examines the instrumentality of unexpected allies as regards the discourse on womenâ€™s rights, and it sheds light on the role of church-state relations in framing the policy debate. As the literature suggests, an enabling environment and a confluence of agents are required to implement policy reforms. However, the effect of presidential support in regimes that hinder major policy reforms relating to womenâ€™s rights is much more important than theory has anticipated.
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