Federalism, Feminism and Multilevel Governance: The Elusive Search for Theory?
This chapter addresses two main questions. The first is the extent to which it is possible to build theories of the way federal and multilevel governance (MLG) systems operate. The second is whether anything of a general nature can be said about the impact of federal and MLG structures on feminist efforts to progress women-friendly public policies. The chapter reviews the main theories of federalism and, to assess validity, looks briefly at evidence from federal experience in several countries. It presents a discussion and assessment of feminist critiques of non-gendered federal analysis and feminist attempts to build theories. Economic globalisation, according to theories of MLG, has transformed the context in which nation states operate and made it more complex. The actors and agencies participating in decision-making have proliferated. Clearly, theories of federalism and MLG need to be firmly grounded in empirical evidence.