Drought Policy in Australia: Gender Mainstreaming or Gender Blindness?

Author:

Alston, M

Editor:

First

Date:

2009

Region:

Oceania

Theme:

Gender and Droughts

Language:

English

Publisher:

Taylor & Francis Group

Full Harvard Reference:

Alston, M. (2009) Drought Policy in Australia: Gender Mainstreaming or Gender Blindness? Gender, Place & Culture. Vol 16. N 2. PP 139-154.

The major drought that has affected Australia in the 2000’s has accelerated ongoing rural restructuring. Yet despite evidence that drought is a gendered experience, and despite a rhetorical move to gender mainstreaming in Australian policy circles, drought policy remains significantly gender blind. This article uses the example of emergency support to poverty stricken farm families to show how agricultural departments that attend to a notional norm of family farming as a unitary male pursuit can actively discriminate against women in their efforts to preserve the farm and support their families. The article exposes gender mainstreaming as an ‘empty signifier’ which does not support gender equity efforts to reach women at local levels.