Transformative Topics


In celebration of International Women's Day (March 8th) we focus on gender and transformative approaches advancing research in this area. We start by featuring the impactful article, “Gender Justice and the Market: A Transformative Consumer Research Perspective” by Wendy Hein, Laurel Steinfield, Nacima Ourahmoune, Catherine A. Coleman, Linda Tuncay Zayer, and Jon Littlefield (2016). To see information for the paper on the TCR website click here.  


Wendy and Laurel reflect on the paper and the importance of this research topic:   


The paper “Gender Justice and the Market: A Transformative Consumer Research Perspective” (Hein et al. 2016) is the product of a group of scholars who came together for the first time at the inaugural gender track at the 2015 TCR conference at Villanova University. Gender, as an umbrella term, had been missing from the TCR agenda since its inception. To address this lacuna, the paper seeks to comprehensively illustrate the complexity of gender issues and how they relate to wider marketing, consumption and policy, while also building the foundations to investigate and transform the causes of gender injustices further.


Specifically, we/the authors build the multiparadigmatic Transformative Gender Justice Framework (TGJF) and showcase how three transformative lenses relating to gender (in)justices need to be considered simultaneously to overcome the complexities of gender, marketing and consumption issues across micro, meso and macro levels, often at a transnational scale. The authors examine how the TGJF applies to sex tourism and highlight its potential to elucidate research on sexual violence and brands/branding, domestic care and childcare, and health care.


Since then, the group of scholars have built on this work in numerous publications: by exploring power logics in reproductive healthcare in Uganda (Steinfield et al., 2019), extending gender to intersectionality in TCR (Steinfield et al., 2019) and co-writing several book chapters relating to gender, TCR and consumer research (Zayer et al., 2017Steinfield et al., 2019). Separately and as a group, the scholars continue their research on these important topics across marketing, media and consumer research where gender lenses are urgently needed, impacting practice and policy in the process. One such example includes the partnership between many of the scholars at the initial TCR gender track and the Association of National Advertisers' Educational Foundation and SeeHer, which is resulting in the creation of educational module and a certificate to guide marketers on how to create more accurate representations of gender in advertising. The modules are to be launched Fall 2023. 


Despite this growing body of research on gender and TCR, challenges continue and diversify. The years since this first gender track in 2015 have brought us new political developments, legal restrictions that threaten reproductive rights and the rights of trans people, a global pandemic that has given rise to a number of socio-cultural and health issues – to name a few - and more recently the war in Ukraine, bringing with it human devastation and a transnational energy crisis. Gender, marketing and consumption play a role across all these contexts. Further, research on how gender and sustainability are linked is gaining in prominence as it becomes clear that women and vulnerable populations are often at the receiving end of climate injustices (Steinfield et al. 2021).


The TGJF continues its relevance and potential to support investigation of these and other topics where gender has been neglected. We thus invite practitioners, policymakers, activists and scholars across disciplines to join forces in researching gender injustices and inequities and build on this transformative agenda. 

To find more work on the topic, search the TCR's publication archives, typing a keyword or author into the search box. 


Citation:  Wendy Hein, Laurel Steinfield, Nacima Ourahmoune, Catherine A. Coleman, Linda Tuncay Zayer, and Jon Littlefield (2016). Gender Justice and the Market: A Transformative Consumer Research Perspective. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 35(2), Pages 223-236.



Abstract: Despite growing awareness of the importance of gender equality in the advancement of global economies, the involvement of marketing and policy in (re)producing and resolving gender injustices remains understudied. This article proposes a transformative consumer research approach to studying gender-related issues. It develops the "transformative gender justice framework" (TGJF), which identifies perspectives from three enfranchisement theories: social and distributive justice, capabilities approach, and recognition theory. By applying a multiparadigmatic analysis, the authors encourage a dialogic and recursive approach so that scholars and policy makers can assess the interactions between structural, agentic, and sociocultural forces that underlie gender injustices. They argue the TGJF is necessary for full comprehension of the complex, systemic, glocalized, institutionalized, and embodied nature of gender injustices, as well as how policy, markets and marketing can both perpetuate and resolve gender injustices. To demonstrate the TGJF's analytical power, the authors apply the framework to one site of gender injustice (i.e., the sex tourismindustry), propose applications across additional sites, and discuss questions it raises for future research.  



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