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Gender Politics in the Expanding European Union

Gender Politics in the Expanding European Union: Mobilization, Inclusion, Exclusion

Edited by Silke Roth
Copyright Date: 2008
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 284
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  • Book Info
    Gender Politics in the Expanding European Union
    Book Description:

    In May 2004, after bringing their legislation into accordance with EU regulations, ten more countries joined the European Union. The contributors to this volume assess the impact of this historical development on gender relations in the new and old EU member states. Instead of focusing on either western or eastern Europe, this book investigates the similarities and differences in diverse parts of Europe. Although initially limited, gender equality was part of the original framework of the European Union, an organization often more open than national governments to feminist demands, as this volume illustrates with case studies from eastern and western Europe. The enlargement process thus provides some important policy instruments for increasing equality between men and women.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-070-8
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-IV)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. V-VI)
  3. List of Tables and Figures
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  4. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. IX-X)
  5. INTRODUCTION: Gender Politics in the Expanding European Union. Mobilization, Inclusion, Exclusion
    (pp. 1-16)
    Silke Roth

    Since 1957, when Belgium, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands formed the European Economic Community (EEC) later renamed the European Union (EU), this supranational opportunity structure has been an important resource for the promotion of gender equality in member states and candidate countries. At least discursively, the EU endorses gender equality as a fundamental value and demands that its member states embrace this principle. This volume addresses the impact of EU accession on member states as well as the European Union from a gender perspective. Each enlargement—western in the 1970s, southern in the 1980s,...

  6. Part I Broadening Gender Equality Policies:: The Role of the EU

    • 1 The EU and Enlargement: Conceptualizing Beyond “East” and “West”
      (pp. 19-36)
      Angelika von Wahl

      European integration has opened the door for the formulation and development of a variety of equal opportunity and equal treatment laws for women. An extensive body of norms and policies, including nine directives, has been passed over the last thirty years to foster gender equality and end discrimination, particularly in employment related areas. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has granted direct effect status to gender equality directives and has supported equal treatment on many occasions. The dense and complex web of legislation, institutions, court decisions, programs, and interaction with privileged interest groups that emerged in Brussels over the last...

    • 2 Toward the Europeanization of Work-Family Policies? The Impact of the EU on Policies for Working Parents
      (pp. 37-59)
      Kimberly J. Morgan

      The issue of how to help parents balance work and family has gained increasing prominence at the EU level in the past ten to fifteen years. The EU has a long history of promoting gender equality, yet most initiatives in the past were antidiscrimination measures that could not address the substantive barriers to women’s equal integration into paid work. Since the 1990s, however, EU directives on maternity protection, parental leave, part-time work, and atypical employment have sought to do so by recognizing that women’s labor force patterns often differ from those of men due to childbirth and childcare. The EU’s...

    • 3 Violence at Work? Framing Sexual Harassment in the European Union
      (pp. 60-80)
      Kathrin Zippel

      This chapter addresses the question of how feminists and advocates made a successful case for European Union intervention on sexual harassment. What used to be considered a moral, deeply private, and personal issue has in the EU context increasingly been depicted as a deeply cultural, nationally specific one. Given that in the 1980s the European Community (EC) had little authority to intervene in any social issues, including violence against women, getting sexual harassment on the agenda of EU institutions and promoting legal changes in member states through supranational intervention was a major accomplishment (Carter 1992; Gregory 1995, 2000). I argue...

  7. Part II The EU Accession Process:: Six Case Studies from West and East

    • 4 Irish Women’s Organizations in an Enlarged Europe
      (pp. 83-100)
      Pauline P. Cullen

      Ireland,¹ long the recipient of significant EU regional development and agricultural and structural funding, has since the mid-1990s experienced unprecedented economic growth and has been hailed as the success story of EU membership and neoliberal economic policy making. While EU enlargement has increased in-migration across Western Europe, Ireland has, in contrast to other countries, attracted a considerable number of migrants. In the twelve months prior to April 2006, the highest levels of immigration since records on in-migration began in 1987 were recorded, with 86,900 immigrants entering the state (Central Statistics Office 2006a). Nearly half (43 percent) were nationals of the...

    • 5 Spain at the Vanguard in European Gender Equality Policies
      (pp. 101-117)
      Celia Valiente

      In Spain, progressive measures at the central state level, such as an ambitious Act on Gender Violence, have been recently passed under a social democratic government formed in spring 2004, when the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (Partido Socialista Obrero Español, PSOE) reached power.¹ In early 2007 other progressive gender equality measures were seriously considered, such as the approval of a comprehensive (Gender) Equality Act. In the first part of this chapter, I succinctly describe the main Spanish gender equality policies. How had the socialist government arrived at this point at the beginning of the twenty-first century, given the fact that,...

    • 6 From “Strange Sisters” to “Europe’s Daughters”? European Enlargement as a Chance for Women’s Movements in East and West Germany
      (pp. 118-136)
      Ingrid Miethe

      Due to Germany’s specific history, the country’s position in the European integration process is special, cast as it is in the middle between Eastern and Western Europe. Western Germany belongs to the very first founding members of the European Union. Eastern Germany, on the other hand, was until 1989 a fixture in the socialist block, and as a member country of the Warsaw treaty was firmly embedded in that system. Come German reunification, Eastern Germany automatically became a member of the European Union and East Germans “overnight” turned into Europeans. Many of the preparatory processes towards a European Union that...

    • 7 Will It Make a Difference? EU Enlargement and Women’s Public Discourse in Poland
      (pp. 137-154)
      Joanna Regulska and Magda Grabowska

      In this chapter, we examine how the accession process affected the abilities of Polish women and feminist NGOs to mobilize and organize collective responses when confronted with both new possibilities and new threats. We argue that the process of the eastern enlargement, the years of the Polish government’s anti-women stance (albeit, of varying strength depending on the political orientation of the regime in power), but also certain ambiguity of the European Union (EU) toward the full support of women’s rights in the accession countries, have all contributed to a stronger women’s collective agency and their ability to engage politically. At...

    • 8 The Impact of EU Accession on the Promotion of Women and Gender Equality in the Czech Republic
      (pp. 155-173)
      Hana Hašková and Alena Křížková

      In this chapter we evaluate the EU’s impact on the promotion of gender equality and women’s positions in the Czech Republic (CR) during the preparation for accession to the EU. We ask first how EU enlargement affected Czech women’s civic groups, Czech politicians, and Czech state governmental bodies in their capacities and willingness to promote women and gender equality. Then we turn to role of the aforementioned actors in the promotion of women and gender equality in the Czech Republic during the EU accession process. Finally, we discuss whether EU enlargement led Czech women’s civic groups to orientate themselves more...

    • 9 The Impact of EU Accession on Gender Equality in Hungary
      (pp. 174-192)
      Noémi Kakucs and Andrea Pető

      In 2005 and 2006, the Hungarian media were saturated with news of a sexual harassment case in which two individuals were involved from the newly founded Government Office for Equal Opportunities. The verdict passed in April 2006 stated that the defendant, a high-ranking, middle-aged male civil servant was not guilty of sexual harassment, as the plaintiff, a young female secretary, failed to prove the accusations, and the latter was sentenced to pay financial compensation for the moral damage caused. This is not the only case concerning sexual harassment in the country, but this case tells a lot about the paradoxes...

  8. Part III Inclusion and Exclusion in EU Equality Politics

    • 10 Preparing for EU Membership: Gender Policies in Turkey
      (pp. 195-210)
      Gül Aldikaçti-Marshall

      This chapter focuses on the implementation of the European Union’s gender policy directives at the national law level in Turkey, and the role of Turkish feminist groups in this process. Turkey stands out as a unique case among the countries included in this volume, because Turkey is the only country that remains outside of the European Union (hereafter EU) despite the fact that its relationship with the European Economic Community dates back to 1963. A brief explanation of the history of Turkey’s relationship with the EU is followed by a discussion of changes in civil and penal codes, labor law,...

    • 11 Gender and Ethnic Minority Claims in Swedish and Eu Frames: Sites of Multilevel Political Opportunities and Boundary Making
      (pp. 211-236)
      Zenia Hellgren and Barbara Hobson

      Over the last decades, social groups and social movements have challenged the false universalism in the frames of citizenship and membership that has shaded out particularized experiences and identities, including gender, ethnicity/race, sexual preference, disability, and religious beliefs (Hobson 2003a; Fraser 2003; Honneth 1995). One of the most interesting phenomena of our era is that these dialogues around citizenship and exclusion are occurring more and more in transnational arenas. The EU has been a key actor supporting nongovernmental organizations and transnational networks to promote citizenship claims and rights. EU institutions, treaties, laws, and courts have been venues for challenging discrimination...

    • 12 Framing Equality: The Politics of Race, Class, and Gender in the US, Germany, and the Expanding European Union
      (pp. 237-256)
      Myra Marx Ferree

      The European Union is an unprecedented effort to reshape political relations within as well as across national boundaries, and formulates a certain ideal for a modern, democratic member state. Moreover, as the contributions in this volume attest, to an unparalleled degree the EU’s endorsement of gender equality as a fundamental value is part of this ideal, and the EU demands (at least discursively) that its member states embrace this principle. However, as the case studies show, the degree of actual translation of this principle into practice on the ground varies considerably across countries, depending on factors such as the stance...

  9. List of Contributors
    (pp. 257-262)
  10. Index
    (pp. 263-272)