Women's Movements and Women's Policy Offices in Western Postindustrial Democracies, 1970-2001 (ICPSR 30681)

Version Date: Jul 21, 2011 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Dorothy E. McBride, Florida Atlantic University; Amy G. Mazur, Washington State University


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This dataset was produced by the Research Network on Gender Politics and the State (RNGS) as a part of a cross-national longitudinal study of women's policy offices and women's movements in western postindustrial democracies. The RNGS dataset contains 130 policy debates/observations from 13 countries coded on 28 concepts and over 110 variables. It provides information on women's movements, women's policy offices, policy making processes, and policy debates over a 35-year time period.

McBride, Dorothy E., and Mazur, Amy G. Women’s Movements and Women’s Policy Offices in Western Postindustrial Democracies, 1970-2001. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-07-21. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR30681.v1

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National Science Foundation (0084570/80), European Science Foundation (AESM/IM NW.GC/75)


Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research

1970 -- 2004
1997 -- 2004, 2002 -- 2005

The study sought to assess the degree to which women's movements and women's policy agencies affected policy processes by gendering the frames of the debates. The study asked: (1) To what extent have women's movements been successful in gaining a dual response from the state, in other words achieving their goals for policy and procedural success? To what extent have they failed? (2) What features of women's movement activism and the policy environment explain state responses? (3) How important are women's policy agency activities to achieving success? Which characteristics of these agencies explain their activities?

Users should refer to the supporting documentation for details about the study design.

Sample of three policy debates for each country for the following policy issue areas: job training, abortion, prostitution, and political representation, and one debate for the "hot issue". For the four gender-pertinent issues, researchers were first asked to identify the decision making arenas primarily responsible for making policy on the issue. Then they constructed a universe of policy debates on that particular issue that had taken place since the appearance of the first women's policy agency after 1970. The debates included were to meet the following base criteria: (1) debates take place in public policy arenas such as the legislature, courts, bureaucracy, or policy party conferences; (2) debates occur when a women's policy agency is in existence; (3) debates end with an official decision, including for instance, legislation, an executive order, a court ruling, or a government policy proposal. Next, researchers were asked to select the three policy debates that would be studied using the following criteria: (1) decisional system importance, (2) life cycle, and (3) issue area salience. In some cases, issue salience of a particular debate made it essential despite the fact that the debate did not meet the other criteria; therefore there are a few debates that took place before the establishment of a women's policy agency. In Austria and Spain, the debates with respect to political representation were drawn from a list of debates on women's representation and not all of the possible debates about political representation. For the hot issue selection, a different sampling procedure was developed and followed. Researchers first constructed the top five priority policy issues during 1989 to 2002 that met the following criteria: large scope; high degree of conflict, wide range of public attention, and top priority of major policy actors. Next, following the RNGS decision to focus attention on policy issues that addressed major changes in state-society relations, researchers selected an issue from the list that fell into the state-society change category. Finally, if the issue area contained more than one discrete policy debate the researcher selected a debate to study according to: (1) salience in the issue area, that is, the debate represented the most important debate in the issue; and (2) the debate was a top priority debate in the issue area according to scope, degree of conflict, public attention and policy actor priority.

policy debate

Users should refer to the supporting documentation for details about variables.



2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • McBride, Dorothy E., and Amy G. Mazur. Women's Movements and Women's Policy Offices in Western Postindustrial Democracies, 1970-2001. ICPSR30681-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2011-07-21. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR30681.v1