Gender Justice and the Market: A Transformative Consumer Research Perspective

Wendy Hein, Laurel Steinfield, Nacima Ourahmoune, Catherine A. Coleman, Linda Tuncay Zayer, and Jon Littlefield
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Key Takeaways

​The paper presents the complex issues marketers face when researching and working with gender issues.

This paper presents a more holistic approach to viewing gender injustices, identifying how policy, markets, and marketing interact to perpetuate or resolve injustices

This paper highlights risk of reductionistic thinking, siloed interventions, and unintended consequences and notes opportunities for marketers and policy makers to address gender injustices.

​​​​​​​Article Snapshots: Executive Summaries from the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing​

This article proposes a “Gender Justice” framework, which aims to assess the interaction between socioeconomic, individual, and sociocultural forces that underlie gender injustices.


Gender, as it is researched and treated in markets, marketing, and policy, has long been central to injustices. Yet despite this pervasiveness, little marketing research has addressed gender-based injustices. We argue that our Transformative Gender Justice Framework (TGJF) builds a foundation for recognizing gender injustices and their complexities and can support researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to navigate these complexities and to better understand how their work might enable or hinder the transformation of gender relations and injustices


As a diverse group of gender, marketing, and consumer behavior scholars, we combined our expertise and engaged in extensive literature research to develop the TGJ, a conceptual framework combining key enfranchisement theories of social justice, capabilities, and recognition theory. We apply the TGJF to a number of “sites of gender injustice,” drawing particular attention to the case of sex tourism. We identify what each theory reveals and overlooks and how a combined perspective raises unidentified concerns, questions, and stress tests for policy makers, marketers, and researchers to consider.

FIGURE: The TGJF explores the complexities of gender injustices through three theories of enfranchisement: social justice, capabilities, and recognition theory. It works toward gender justice by assessing causes and solutions proposed by each theory, their limitations, and their interactions with each other.


We find that if gender is not addressed in its complexities, resolutions will only be partial and some injustices will be exacerbated due to unintended consequences. Therefore, measures taken to achieve gender justice need to be sensitive to the multifaceted aspects of gender and the way various solutions interact with each other to perpetuate and/or resolve injustices.


The general public can learn that dealing with gender is not as straightforward as tackling differences between men and women and that such a simplistic view can thwart attempts to achieve gender equality. For managers and researchers, it highlights the various forces that hold gender inequalities in place and gives them a framework they can apply for more holistic solutions. Sectors that can benefit include tourism, advertising and branding sectors, product marketing, international organizations (e.g., the United Nations), governments, and trade organizations (e.g., WTO).

Questions for the Classroom

  • How do markets, marketing, and policy interact to perpetuate or resolve gender injustices?

  • Why does gender need a multiparadigmatic analysis in marketing and policy?

  • What are the main theories that underlie the Transformative Gender Justice Framework (TGJF)?

Article 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), 223-236.


Wendy Hein is Lecturer in Marketing, Birkbeck, University of London (e-mail:

Laurel Steinfield is Assistant Professor of Marketing, Bentley University (e-mail:

Nacima Ourahmoune is Associate Professor of Marketing and Consumer Culture, Kedge Business School (e-mail:

Catherine A. Coleman is Associate Professor of Strategic Communication, Texas Christian University (e-mail:

Linda Tuncay Zayer is Associate Professor of Marketing, Loyola University Chicago (e-mail:

Jon Littlefield is Associate Professor of Marketing, Dalton State College (e-mail:

Author Bio:

Wendy Hein, Laurel Steinfield, Nacima Ourahmoune, Catherine A. Coleman, Linda Tuncay Zayer, and Jon Littlefield
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