Gender and Public Policy

What are the economic costs of gender inequality? Do countries frame certain laws in ways that discriminate unfairly against women? Why do two out of every three older women in Ireland have to take a means test to get the state pension?

Whether subtle, custom and practice, or codified, gender inequality almost always means inequality for women. This cluster of experts in economics, politics, society, education, law and ageing are researching beyond the customary social justice perspective on gender inequality, and closely examining its economic impact on individuals, families, businesses and countries.

If you would like to research gender and public policy issues, or if your government, organisation or community would appreciate some insights to help resolve these problems, contact the cluster leaders Dr Nata Duvvury or Dr Aine Ni Leime.

Key Research Questions

The work of the cluster includes research on pensions, recession, work and welfare, family property and marital breakdown law, and higher education, especially academic careers. The cluster is very concerned with civic engagement. It contributes to policy-making at home and abroad, works with NGOs and third-sector organisations, and encourages women’s participation in the public sphere.

One high-impact research project on domestic violence against women in Vietnam, quantified the cost at 1.4% of GDP and estimated the fall in women’s earnings at 35%. A second project, for the World Bank, found that the output lost due to domestic violence against women was 23% of the GDP spent on education and training in Bangladesh and 31% in Uganda.

Further areas of research in the Gender and Public Policy cluster include:

  1. The extent to which women have control over the money they earn and the accumulation of wealth.
  2. How laws on marital property contracts, pre-nuptial agreements, divorce settlements, and inheritance are established.
  3. Inequality in Irish state pensions. Two in every three older women get a means-tested rather than an insurance-based payment.
  4. The impact of raising the retirement age in the EU and US. This is likely to disadvantage women, and men in precarious work.