Dr. Rosalind Cavaghan

Rosalind Cavaghan studied at the Universities of Edinburgh and Leipzig and started a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship at Radboud University in September 2013.

Her thesis sought to tackle a conundrum many of us will be familiar with. Most of us think we’re pro gender equality but can’t understand what we, or our organisation, have to do with it. This is one of the biggest barriers to the implementation of Gender Mainstreaming (GM) – the UN’s best practice model for the achievement of gender equality and the EU’s flagship gender equality policy. Rosalind’s thesis developed a new methodology combining the sociology of knowledge and interpretative policy analysis, to unpick this problem. These methods view all policy as the attempt to coordinate activity around shared policy assumptions, and provide methodological tools to show how collective ways of thinking and acting can be maintained by state organisations.

Using these methods, Rosalind’s thesis showed how structured implementation and policy development processes in the EU Commission sustain gender blind thinking and activity on a grand scale, and how GM can disrupt these habits. As such, her thesis seeks to increase our understanding of both the mechanisms through which (supra national) state policies maintain and depoliticise gender inequality and the prospects for change.

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