Lessons from policy theories for the pursuit of equity in health, education and gender policy



Cairney P, St Denny E, Kippin S & Mitchell H (2022) Lessons from policy theories for the pursuit of equity in health, education and gender policy. Policy & Politics, 50 (3), pp. 362-383.

We highlight practical lessons from policy theories on how to promote equity through transformational changes in policymaking. Health, education and gender are at the heart of such equity policy agendas. Their advocates seek transformational changes to: policy, to reject a ‘neoliberal’ paradigm and address the social and economic causes of unfair inequalities, and policymaking, to foster collaboration and holistic government. However, they also report a wide gap between aspirations and outcomes, and many seek insights from policy studies on how to close it. Our aim is to use their common engagement with policy theories to connect their agendas, foster intersectoral dialogue, and ensure that their contributions are greater than the sum of their parts. A common take-home message is to be cautious about any attempt to turn a provocative transformational political project into a technical process containing a ‘toolbox’ or ‘playbook’.

Health; Education; Gender; Policymaking; Equity; Equality; Neoliberal; Social justice

Policy & Politics: Volume 50, Issue 3

Publication date31/07/2022
Publication date online30/04/2022
Date accepted by journal31/03/2022
PublisherBristol University Press

People (3)


Professor Paul Cairney

Professor Paul Cairney

Professor, Politics

Dr Sean Kippin

Dr Sean Kippin

Lecturer in Public Policy, Politics

Mrs Heather Labhart

Mrs Heather Labhart

PhD Researcher, Institute for Social Marketing