Skirting the issue: power, nondecision-making and gender
Nondecision-making theory argues that subtle and covert uses of power can be, and are, used in the policy process to maintain the status quo. This chapter outlines the radical beginnings of this theory, where it differs from pluralistic views of politics, and why I believe that it can offer some answers to why and how Women’s Interest Issues (WIIs) are marginalised. Before beginning a review of appropriate political theories it is necessary to situate this research, to explain my aims. Unlike earlier writings I do not intend to prove the existence of nondecision-making-that was achieved over two decades ago by Bachrach and Baratz (1970) and Crenson (1971). Rather, it is my aim to attempt to fulfil the most basic and important aim of feminist research, to find ways to create the social change that feminists demand. I believe that if we understand the methods used by patriarchal systems to keep WIIs off the agenda, marginalise and delegitimise them then we shall be able to devise strategies for effectively challenging the patriarchal status quo. One of these methods is, as I will show, nondecision-making.