Introduction: Political Architecture and its Gender Impact
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book provides the importance of differing institutions, practices and discourses at the various levels of multilevel governance systems. It explores the influence of political architecture on how women's movements organise and the language they use when they make gendered claims. The book focuses on how changes in political architecture affect women, whether these changes involve downloading, uploading or off-loading. It also observes the importance of timing in the creation of new institutions and whether processes such as devolution or regional integration occur at a time of feminist mobilisations inside and outside political institutions. Women's experience of federations is affected by whether specific powers, such as social policies, welfare programmes or family law, are assigned to the federal or constituent State governments and women's activism may be prompted by proposed shifts of responsibilities.