Gendered Assumptions, Institutional Disconnections and Democratic Deficits: The Case of European Union Development Policy Towards Liberia


Debusscher, Petra. 2013. “Gendered Assumptions, Institutional Disconnections and Democratic Deficits: The Case of European Union Development Policy Towards Liberia.” Women’s Studies International Forum 40 (September): 212–21. doi:10.1016/j.wsif.2013.08.005.

Author: Petra Debusscher


This article maps an application of gender mainstreaming with the aim of investigating how gender is institutionalised within EU development aid. I consider the case of aid towards Liberia from 2008 to 2013, examining first the extent to which gender was included in policy formulation and implementation. Next, I attempt to explain this by analysing institutional inputs and networks at the EU Delegation in Liberia. Based on text analysis and expert interviews, I argue that gender factors were abolished in the actual implementation, despite relative support from the Delegation leaders, and the availability of training and expertise. The largest stumbling block to effective implementation was institutional weakness, represented by the disconnect between formal and informal institutional rules; gendered assumptions at the EU external services constraining the expression of marginalised perspectives; and a gendered double democratic deficit in the power play over which ideas matter and who accumulates resources.

Topics: Gender, Gender Analysis, Gender Mainstreaming, Humanitarian Assistance, International Financial Institutions Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Liberia

Year: 2013

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