Intersectional Policy Making with the Welsh Government

In May, I was invited to work with Dr Alison Parken from Cardiff University as well as Welsh women’s rights organisation Chwarae Teg on a project aiming to change the way the Welsh Government makes policy.

In 2019 the Welsh Government reviewed its equality strategies from all angles. It was a thorough review and Chwarae Teg led the gender equality process. You can read a report about the process and results here.

Part of this process was working with policy makers in the Welsh government to road test and alternative approach to making policy which used Dr Parken’s multi-strand approach to policy making.

This process – in brief – is about trying to find policies that will alleviate multiple inequalities rather than starting with a policy and seeing what impact that has through (largely ignored) impact assessments.

Instead of starting with a policy, the approach starts with a policy-area like social care and seeks to find consensus on inequalities faced by multiple groups. That way policies that come out of this process are likely to help the many, not the few.

My interest in this approach came from designing my Intersectionality and the Economy workshops for Stir to Action. I was unable to find a practical tool that might help policy makers take an intersectional approach until I found Dr Parken’s multi-strand approach.

It was incredibly exciting to work with Dr Parken whose methods I had been using in the workshops and received excellent feedback from. However, the version for the Welsh Government in 2019 was much shorter than the original version in the 2010 paper.

The next stage is to get funding for a proper, long term project on intersectional approaches to policy making to see if the multi-strand approach can be updated and more rigorously assessed for its efficacy. In particular, a renewed focus on truly participatory policy making would be an exciting addition. Stay tuned.

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