Too Late for Gender Mainstreaming? Taking Stock in Brussels


Woodward, Alison E. 2008. “Too Late for Gender Mainstreaming? Taking Stock in Brussels.” Journal of European Social Policy 18 (3): 289–302. doi:10.1177/0958928708091061.

Author: Alison E. Woodward


Gender mainstreaming is one of the major strategies adopted by the European Union and member states for achieving gender equality. It is seen as a major success, and other social movements have begun to demand mainstreaming for their issues in European social policy. This article considers eight recent studies which include Belgium, a middle case as far as European gender equality is concerned. They show meager results in terms of altering the understanding of equality policy to include a gender perspective, and applying efforts transversally. The article also evaluates the successes and challenges of the gender mainstreaming strategy ten years after its adoption. It then examines the changes in the organization of EU equality issues with regard to diversity and the implications for the gender mainstreaming strategy. These changes include efforts to address new target groups under Article 13 as well as the issues posed by enlargement. It thus addresses the question: To what extent can experience relating to gender mainstreaming be utilized to meet evolving demands? Recent developments in intersectional theory may offer fruitful new angles.

Topics: Gender, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality Regions: Europe, Western Europe Countries: Belgium

Year: 2008

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