Monday, March 26

Leading the Way - A Decade of Policy Research Fund Reports - NOW CANCELLED!!

If you have not already seen this, please read the English and French backgrounders on the cancelled Policy Research Fund. One of the many interesting pieces of information in it is that in 2006-07, 1.4 million people around the world accessed these publications and they have had a profound influence on scholarship.

Sound research provides the basis for policy change. Created in 1996, the Policy Research Fund (PRF) of Status of Women Canada enabled the review and discussion of many critical issues of concern to women, making sure women’s perspectives and experiences were included in policy making and promoting discussion of gender-equality issues between the public and policy makers. The projects critically examined the impact of many Canadian public policies on women: child care and custody, social and health policies and programs, fiscal policies, trade agreements, national security and immigration policies, rural development issues, legislative changes in the area of same-sex legislation, and the changes to the Indian Act and Bill C-31 determining the membership and status of First Nations people. An important factor in all the research areas was the recognition that women in Canada are not a homogeneous group, therefore introducing the requirement to take into account the effect of policies on women in their full diversity.

From the very beginning, one important hallmark of the program was the independent nature of the research. During each planning cycle, PRF staff scanned a variety of sources to determine the pressing issues and research gaps. Research themes were presented as openly as possible to capture unique perspectives, which often brought previously unconsidered ideas and options to policy discussions. An external committee, nominated and selected through a transparent process, selected the themes, evaluated and selected the projects, and assessed the final reports for publication.

The Policy Research Fund was unique in Canada, and perhaps the world, in its focus on gender-based policy research. The distinctive blue and green PRF publications fill the shelves of university libraries, policy analysts’ offices and judges’ desks. They are visible reminders of the knowledge generated by the Policy Research Fund during its 10 years of existence, about the issues affecting women’s lives. The Fund achieved its goal of bringing a gender-based perspective to policy discussions and nurturing the creation of a network of feminist researchers with policy research expertise. Policy is essentially about power and gender-based policy approaches, by their nature, widen our conceptions of power and its impact on people’s lives. But good policy making requires good evidence-based research. The PRF publications brought the reality of women’s lives and their struggle to achieve full and equal participation to the attention of policy makers. They made a world of difference.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am absolutely shocked by this, and can not even think of a coherent comment.

What could have possibly caused this to happen? What possible reason could there be for removing this funding?