Friday, February 12, 2021 from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM EST
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Mangala Kanayson 
The Vulnerability and the Human Condition Initiative 

Vulnerability Theory: International Conversations about Gender and Public Procurement  

 Conveners: S.N. Nyeck, Atieno Mboya, and Martha Albertson Fineman

Global public procurement represents about $11 trillion or 13% of global GDP and is a strategic tool of public administration for addressing socio-economic problems. Although global procurement reform that started in the 1990s resisted a socio-economic framing of public procurement outcomes, it is now agreed that the horizontal dimensions of government outsourcing play a key role in bringing about inclusive economies. Gender has taken a central stage in global economic discourse, especially with the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. In some countries, merging development and gender equality goals entails creating language that specifically addresses gender disparity within public law governing the purchasing of public works, goods, and services. How have states and public institutions responded to the demand for social equity when services and economic opportunities are contracted out? This mini conference brings together the contributors to an edited volume (tentatively entitled Vulnerability Theory: International Conversations about Gender and Public Procurement edited by S.N. Nyeck). The contributors grapple with the diverse ways in which gender is mobilized in responsible public procurement schemes in several countries to account for gaps in responsible public policy based on the universal human and institutional condition of vulnerability.  In so doing, the authors may find it beneficial to leverage vulnerability theory to account for how the public and the private sectors as economic agents struggle to bring about economically inclusive societies.

 This mini conference is organized as a dialogue between public procurement studies and vulnerability theory researchers. The global pandemic of Covid-19 has revived conversations about the role and extent of state intervention in the economy. As global financial institutions revise their global GDP prediction downward, the strategic use of public procurement may help to mitigate the corrosive effects of the predicted global recession. Conversations between vulnerability theory and public procurement studies are important to chart a way for resilient gender-responsive and responsible public policies in the context of government outsourcing. The mini conference will open with remarks (20-30 minutes) by the organizers and the contributors to the edited volume will each have 10-15 minutes to present their chapters and solicit comments. All are welcome to virtually participate.