by Maria J. D’Agostino and Nicole M. Elias:
Gender equality has been a HOT topic this summer, with issues ranging from equal pay, health care reform, and transgender rights. Equal pay is a persistent issue widely discussed in academic and practitioner circles. The pay gap seems to be narrowing slowly over time, and women have even increased their presence in higher-paying jobs traditionally dominated by men.
When we have knowingly identified a problem and consistently implement policies, such as the most recent NYC law banning companies from asking previous salary history, how is is possible that the pay gap between men and women has tripled in the White House under the Trump administration? Examples, both positive and negative, set by leaders speak to the value of women’s work and equity in the workplace.
Healthcare insurance for women has been a volatile topic for quite a bit, but this summer women were not included in healthcare policy decisions that would eliminate women’s health services. Women should have a seat at the table with any public health matter, especially policy impacting women’s bodies and livelihoods. The transgender military ban announced by the president this summer via Twitter will prohibit transgender service members from serving in the military if a formal policy is devised and implemented. Healthcare costs were cited as justification for disqualifying transgender service members. Why not find a solution to healthcare costs that would permit all individuals to serve in the military? The “trans military ban” raises a number of complex sexual orientation/gender identity questions for public administrators and citizens served.
The first genderless healthcare card was issued in British Columbia this summer, likewise the “X” becoming an alternative to the “F” and “M” on Canadian passports at the end of August. The movement away from traditional gender markers highlights the limitation of most gender designations on government documents. The example set by Canada permits individuals to freely express their gender identity and eliminates the stressful process of changing one’s assigned gender at birth on government documents later in life. This prompts us to consider why official government documents and processes must be gendered and how the movement away from identifying gender at birth could lead to a more equitable society regardless of sexual identity or gender expression.
Some of these pressing concerns surrounding sex/gender in public service are currently being discussed in academic circles. The purpose of our blog is to begin a conversation with academics, practitioners, and students surrounding sex/gender in the public sector. This is a space to have a thoughtful dialogue about the topics highlighted above and others– the possibilities are endless. We want to consider the role sex/gender plays in public service and how that shapes the way we think, govern, and are served by sex/gender identities and markers. We want to share ideas and rethink long-standing issues from diverse perspectives in an informal, creative space.
If you are interested in participating as a guest blogger and/or respondent we welcome your submission. The format and content are wide open, so please be as creative as you’d like in crafting your post. If you have any questions or would like to discuss this further, please let us know. All submissions and questions can be sent to: